Mix It Up With Melange Challenge - FUN

Just got back into town after a long weekend of fun & sun to find this cheery prompt from the folks over at Melange On Etsy blog. This is a new mixed media group & each Wednesday they offer up a fresh word to stimulate the creative juices. To play along, simply add a comment HERE with a link to the FUN piece you have made.

This prompt reminded me of all the fun some lucky people are having in Pleasonton, California starting today. They are attending Convenzione ZNE through May 3rd and will be making lots of friends, memories & wonderful projects! (What is ZNE? It's an online gathering place for "mixed media & indie artists". To read more about my experiences with this creative community click HERE) Fabulous classes will be taught in a variety of media - click HERE for more info about the instructors and their artistic talents. There is also a Vendor Fair which is open to the public on Saturday & Sunday. Click HERE for more info & to get a coupon for $1 off the $3 general admission price.

To my fellow ZNE members: I know you are having a blast! Hope to see you next year !!

The Party Continues! Happy Birthday to The Duke!

NY declares April 29 Duke Ellington Day
NPR & others ride the 1939 A-Train with The Duke Ellington Orchestra
Now that sounds like fun!


Monday's Muse- Unplugged

Just a moment before everyone returns. Took off for an impromptu (long) weekend with friends. Have enjoyed the forced withdrawal from the everyday, including the digital world. I get to see my husband & son each day but there is something about new surroundings that help open my eyes to what fun creative people they truly are. I know this but it can get overlooked to much in the day to day stuff.

Our friends decided to celebrate their anniversary early & invited us to join them at a lovely resort. So glad we accepted the invitation. I mean, how often do you get to eat pizza while floating in a pool & watching a movie on a giant inflatable screen? And with people whose company you truly enjoy? I'm gonna guess not often enough.

And to top off a fabulous weekend, they took DH & the little guy to a nearby water park today. I stayed behind and enjoyed doing NOTHING! Just napped, read magazines (ok I did sneak in 1 load of laundry) & relaxed on the balcony. Even managed to stay off the computer until now - wow!

They'll be back soon for 1 more night of fun before we return to "real life". Before they arrive I think I'll pop over to Maternal Spark, creator of Monday's Muse. Saw something about some new forums. Check it out - maybe I'll see you there


IF - Theater

I used to pretend I was someone quite mysterious and fascinating.
Then I grew up and realized I was mysterious and fascinating.
-Sally Bowles, Cabaret

I love the theater but have a chronic case of stage fright. At 10 yrs old I ran bawling from the stage during tryouts for our small town's version of Oklahoma. After that it was backstage for me. I've always loved creating the illusions, props & moving bits. Besides, backstage is where all the real drama happens. (Well, except for my few minutes of fame at Studio 54 in the late 90s during a performance of Cabaret ...but that's another story)

Have you ever been to the Tampa Theatre ? Built in 1926 & still going strong it is my favorite place to go in this town. A true movie palace, it is filled with gargoyles, cherubs and dark dusty corners. Even has a resident ghost they say (projectionist of course). You can read more about Foster Fink Finley here. This wonderful movie house still has the orchestra pit, stage & Mighty Wurlitzer Organ which rises from the floor before each performance. Volunteer musicians entertain the audience until the movies begin.

If you are lucky enough to catch the silent movies (which run a couple of times a year), you get to hear the wonderful Rosa Rio. Rosa has been playing since the silents were 1st runs. She'll tickle the ivories, honk the horns & pull out all the stops for some top notch old-style entertainment. Here's a clip of Rosa playing at the theater in 2005.

The Tampa Theatre truly is a time machine. Get your popcorn and grab a seat in the balcony. Arrive early to enjoy the Wurlitzer. When the lights go down on the faux piazza and stars appear on the darkened ceiling, the organ sinks into the floor (if you're there to see a "talkie"). The stage curtains part dramatically & the the magic begins!

photo is from visittampabay.com

By the way, the watercolor above, titled Wallflower, is available at ArtSnark.etsy.com.

Please pop by Illustration Friday & see what other great takes on "Theater" have been posted. And if you can find the time, add your own to the mix!


We Have A Winner....

First a round of virtual applause for my faithful assistant, King Thanksalot

And the winner is
Danielle a.k.a. Yellie !!

Congratulations, Danielle! Please visit WillOaksStudio.etsy.com to select your prize. You may choose 1 pair of lovely earrings priced at $22 or less. Click on "Contact WillOaksStudio" on the right side of her Etsy shop page, to leave Karen a message. I'll also forward your info to her. She will handle shipping your selected prize.

Many Many Thanks to all who entered. I love giving stuff away so please keep checking back to see what's up next.

And an extra - loud round of virtual applause to Karen at Will Oaks Studio!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful creations with the world and generously donating to ArtSnark Artifacts' latest blog giveaway!!

Wishing everyone a fun & creative weekend!

Extra note: Just spotted something about tomorrow being declared "Etsy Day" by indie shop owners. (Thanks to the whyte paper blog for bringing this to my attention). I haven' t had a chance to look into it yet, but you can click HERE for more info.


Random Tuesday Fonts


My Name is Stacey & I am a Font-o-holic.
It all started back when the Dinos still roamed the earth. I was being courted (I said it was a long time ago) by a charming graphics student. He won me over with a love letter comparing me to a Bordeaux Roman S. The boy and his letter are long gone but the love of a good font remains.

How can you not love
The names are as cool as the type. Looking for anof maybe some

Sure there's lots of pretty ones too, but I lately I'm into the rough stuff.

If you'd like a bit more go play around at dafont or misprinted type. Or just google "free fonts " & see what comes up. That's how I found this beauty over at 1001 fonts
My latest foray into the wonderful land of typography was due to an overflow at ArtSnark's Artifacts. That poor shop has gone from eclectic to chaotic. I'm hoping a 3rd shop will help. Not much in it yet, but banner & shop policies are up

On another etsy note, guru Tim Adams is starting a free 5 day course on marketing your Etsy shop. You can check it out & sign up here

& speaking of free. My faithful assistant will be drawing 1 lucky winner in 2 days so just leave a comment to enter. Don't know what I'm talking about? Click here for last Thursday's ArtSnark post & all the info.

If you get a chance today, pop over to The Un-Mom for some fruity randomness & remind Keely that


Monday's Muse - Feeling challenged?

Still struggling with the time management thing, but I've missed participating in Monday's Muse lately. Getting those haven't created anything new grouchies the last couple of days too....harumph...

I've been inspired by a lot of online Art Challenges recently. These are just for fun, not profit or prizes. Come play along if you have the time!

Here is a great picture posted for last Wednesday's Art on the Darkside ChallengeJust click on pic to visit the site for more info & to view past submissions

Another Wednesday challenge is from a wonderful new group I've joined, the Melange Team. It is a collection of talented mixed media artists who sell their work on etsy. The "Mixing it up with Melange" Weekly Word Challenge starts in 2 days. It is open to anyone who feels inspired. This week's prompt is Ticket. Post your finished piece to your blog. Then add a link in the comment section. For more details about Melange & the Challenge click here.

Still fiddling with last Illustration Friday's provocative prompt, Impossibility. It immediately brought to mind half a dozen ideas. Now, I just need to learn how to function without sleep...hmmmm.... Hoping to flesh out something soon. To see a variety of creative responses click here. If you get the time, play along & submit your own interpretation.

There are many many more fabulous websites to jump start your creativity. These are just a few I'm thinking about this week. What are some of your favorite places to get new ideas?

If you're looking for a bit of inspiration, check out Maternal Spark, home of Monday's Muse. It is always fun to see what everyone there is thinking about this week

Oh, before I forget, be sure to comment here before Thursday at noon (EST) to be entered in ArtSnark's latest random giveaway. See my last post for details


Lucky me - Lucky You !

Woo Hoo!
I had the good fortune to win a random drawing over at American Craft Guide. The prize is a pair of wonderful earrings from the Etsy shop WillOaksStudio.As the banner says, it is "just beautiful wearable art"

I rarely win anything & decided to pass along the good vibes!

Karen, the shop's owner/jewelry designer has generously agreed to donate a pair of her beautiful earrings to a random drawing on ArtSnark's Artifacts. Here's how it works, just leave a comment on my blog over the next week to be entered in the drawing. To get an extra entry, visit the WillOaksStudio blog & do the same. Next Thursday (4/23) at 1pm EST my faithful assistant will draw a random winner. THE PRIZE: your choice of any pair of earrings (that are priced at $22 or less) from the WillOaksStudio etsy shop.

Here's a small sample of what you will find thereShe has so many lovely designs to choose from, go check 'em out :D


Surviving The Plague

Check out this steamy Etsy Treasury curated by AlliesAdornment ! It is truly a pleasure to have my Apprentice Box included with such fabulous phantasmagoria. Click the pic for a closer look soon, as each treasury is up for only a few days.


ABC...Lr...M? Must be Random Thoughts Tuesday


My blogging groove has slipped a bit the last couple of weeks. So it's a Quick & Linky drive-by posting today.....What is with all that life stuff, trying to get in the way ??

A is for ..... Art Students (Happy Birthday Robert Doisneau - where would all those dorm room walls be without your famous Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville or photos of Picasso??)

Also see some fun student pieces at Artsonia. Their blurb states: "Artsonia is the largest student art museum in the world! Our dream is that every child will have an online art gallery, preserving their masterpieces for all time!" I've only just peeked in but it looks like a cool place

B is for..... Books. Been playing with some more altered journal covers a bit but nothing finished yet. In the meantime, TotusMel's Wonderkammer has featured some very cool books today. Many of my Melange teammates have been creating stunning journals too - these are mostly blank books with fantastically altered covers. Type "Melange team Books " into Etsy.com search or just click HERE.

C is for....C'mon! It isn't Friday yet?! (or cop-out depending on your mood)

Lr (formerly Lw) is for.... Lawrencium (man made element 103) produced in the US in 1961 today. I have no idea what I'm talking about but you can read all kinds of wacky smarty-pants stuff at Today in Science History

LR is also the multi-talented artist & costume designer Lorraine Reynolds. Visit her awesome etsy shop, glimmeringprize & her blog to see what she's up to next

M is for.... Man, I Missed Monday's Muse (again).My excuse: I got sucked into Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book last night - fun read! As a kid, I loved Edward Gorey & Alfred Hitchcock. This would have found a place on my bookshelf, probably beside my well worn copy of Bradbury's The Halloween Tree

For Tuesday posts more far interesting than mine, pop over The Un Mom to see what she & her loyal followers have been up to lately.

The Un Mom


Afternoon On A Hill

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!

- Edna St Vincent Millay


Jumpy Jester Goes Sky Diving

First a special thanks to Kathy Maximo for lending me her photo of the challenge kit as I deleted mine. See her finished piece on her blog here. Each participant got a manila envelope containing a small folded bit of corrugated cardboard plus all these lovely bits:The idea was to create something using all (or all but 2) of these elements. Use a substrate of your choosing plus your own paints or whatever. Each participant was also allowed to add 1 item of their own, if desired.

So here is Jumpy Jester

And his hot air balloon

Sorry the pic is such crap - it was too windy to shoot outside today.

Here's a few detail shots.

The balloon is "powered" by faux candle, my extra piece.

Balloon & basket are paper mache."Sandbags" are clear plastic chips.
The wire on edge of chips was removed to make the Jester's joints

Backside of jester is colored bingo sheet.
Anchor is altered puzzle piece.
The "pull" is cut from a King of clubs playing card

And here is the jester just hanging around.

There is also a large colored ring on top but you can't see it in these pics. Out of necessity, I used all of the items in the package. I also tested the rules & used the shipping envelope plus the little piece of included cardboard. These added some much needed structure. I took a lot of WIP photos. Thinking about posting a tutorial if anyone is interested.

Early next week, the Melange On Etsy Blog should have images of the other entries. I'll add a link so you can see all the fun creations. Melange members have a sneak peek in our yahoo photos. There are some very cool interpretations. Each piece is one of a kind & very creative

OFF TOPIC: Illustration Friday prompt is "fleeting". That describes my free time this weekend! Hope to post something but not sure if I'll find the chance. Please play along (such a fun word) or see what others have posted by clicking on the link.


Busy Playing!

For a variety of reasons,I've been even more bogged down than usual this week. Lots of stuff has gone by the wayside including art & blogging. 1 project I am determined to finish soon is the ongoing reorganizing of my studio/home office. I've decided to post some embarrassing "before" shots in the hope I will shame myself into creating the "after" shots soon.

Studio is 1/2 torn apart (still in the destructo phase of reorganizing).
I'm also cramming to finish my piece for the 1st Melange Team challenge (due tomorrow). I've been sitting on it for weeks, but only just found the materials while cleaning yesterday - oops!

Melange is a new Etsy Team for Mixed Media artists. If you like to play with all your toys on one canvas, new members are welcome. Here's the team profile on etsy. Here's the team blog. And here is some of our art for sale

The 1st challenge is from Glenda (see her etsy shop here). She sent out identical packages filled with a wild assortment of items. I had a pic to post but seem to have accidentally deleted it (Dang. Just 1 of those weeks). There's colored tissue paper, an old bingo card, a b&w jester paper doll template, metal ring, fraying fibers, what looks like colored bingo chips & other bits & pieces. The challenge is to create something using all the items,leaving out any 2 if desired. We can provide our own substrate & add 1 extra item. Mine's been done in my head since I 1st opened the envelope. Man, glue sure dries a lot slower in real time!! Been a lot of fun though

I'll post the final piece sometime tomorrow or Sat with links to the other entries once I have 'em. Remembered to shoot WIPs too so if anyone is curious I'll stick those up this weekend too

Before I forget: thank you, thank you,Everyone. Your kind comments and encouragement really keep me going. Especially on the days when all the art stays in my head & I run out of time to create by days end. A few of those & my mood turns sour. I was truly overwhelmed by the quantity & quality of responses to last Friday's post! I've visited some of you but life got in the way again. Your comments are much appreciated


IF - Talisman

Talisman: an object that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck.

Hush - charcoal on paper

The above definition was sent by the folks at Illustration Friday. Such a fantastic prompt, Talisman. It immediately made me think of this charcoal piece I made several years ago. It is almost life size & was drawn from a Polaroid I shot years before.

This piece of art was my talisman.

Until this past year, I've rarely kept up a steady flow of creativity. I'd get into 1 medium or other & make stuff for a couple of months. And then Nothing .... for years. Yes, years. This piece marked the end of a long dry spell & became my good luck charm. It got me into a number of juried shows & galleries, won some awards, and opened up PR opportunities. It became the key to whatever little door I had my eye on.

Then it was stolen.

A dozen pieces were taken, but I felt the blow when I lost this one. This was almost 6 yrs ago. I also had my son around that time & found myself very busy. The new baby, some health issues, plus work were great excuses to not create for a long long time.

February 2008 I started drawing again. 1st ATCs & then larger pieces. I am now at a point where I have more ideas than time. Although I'd like to create more each day, I am grateful for what hours I can claim as my own.

They're Here - charcoal on grey paper

Speaking of "carving out" I'm trying to carve out more elbow room so I'm adding some older pieces at my etsy shop, ArtSnark. The latest is this matted charcoal drawing & it is priced sell! I've also listed my two newest pieces (from yesterday's post)

If you've stayed with me through today's ramble, thank you. The encouragement I have received from so many kind & talented people has helped me get over the loss of my talisman. Now I make my own luck ;D


Waiting 1 & 2

Oh she looks
but there's nothing to see.
Still she looks
saying come back for me...


Been listening to Al Stewart's Fields of France again.

I mentioned a bit ago the dozens of Polaroid Transfers I need to list at ArtSnark . Well, I seem to have the attention span of a gnat lately (not to malign the gnat). I listed some but still have dozens sitting in the studio.

Got bored tho. Tired of waiting to create!
So, I decided to slack off responsibilities once these 2 lovely ladies came calling. They're both relaxing in the etsy shop now. Just click the pics to pay them a visit.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Waiting for Spring