Friday, September 18, 2009

Art Journaling, or "NOW I get it!"

Art journaling is all the rage with mixed media folks these days, but I'll admit that I've never been one to use an art journal.  Frankly, I just didn't see the point of creating a little book of art drawings that I wouldn't be able to hang on the wall. I mean, let's face it, I'm clearly not the kind of person who feels a need to keep much of anything to myself.  Besides, art is for sharing.  Even the most emotional paintings I make just for me, like the canvases I painted to work through my kitty Finnegan's death, often end up finding new homes.

However, once I started to look at my little Moleskine sketch journal as a place to test out techniques, exercise my brain, play with imagery and plain ol' PRACTICE DRAWING, stuff started to happen.
Final journal page

It's pretty.  However, it's not something I want to put on a more permanent canvas for a gallery as a representation of my personal style, but I got ideas for other paintings while I was working on this.  So yeah.  I get it now.  Art journaling.  Neato.

p.s.  Testing out one of the images as my banner for a few days, but I'm not settled on anything yet.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A New Name & Maybe A New Look

Hi everyone!  As I'm sure you have all noticed by now, the name Krissi's Stitchery really doesn't really reflect this blog or the medium of my work anymore.  Therefore, the name, along with the old banner, has gone bye bye:
and has been replaced with the name "Krissi's Studio" (tagline yet to be determined).  Skelekitty's blog, "Skelekitty and Friends," may get a little makeover, but the name and content will continue on as-is.

I thought maybe some of you would have opinions (ahem, or rather, "I KNOW"), so this is your chance to vote on possible backgrounds for the blog.

INSTRUCTIONS (not really much):

  1. I am looking for something that captures my artistic style & sense of fun, as well as the spirit of my blog's content.
  2. Remember that text will be covering a good portion of the image
  3. Post your likes, dislikes, suggestions in the comments section, on Flickr, under the facebook post (if you're reading from there) or send me an e-mail.  Whatever form of communication you like is fine with me.

And now, in no particular order (click on images to view details):
1. Image16

2. Image9

3. Image10

4. Image2

5. Image6

6. Image18

7. Image17


9. Image19


11. Image8

12, Image15

13. Image11

14. Image12

I started with a few and then got totally overwhelmed and ran out of steam.  Therefore, if you would like to suggest another (non-Skelekitty) image, please feel free to write your candidate in!
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Because I Need More to Do

Those of you who have been following my Flickr photos or blog posts for a year or more are familiar with the "Les Petites Dolls" techniques class I took online with Suzi Blu exactly one year ago.

Just the layering techniques I picked up in that class were worth the cost of the class (and then some). We also learned some drawing techniques from her and for the first time, I drew people. OK, they were VERY stylized ones that looked a LOT like Suzi's (with a wee bit of "Krissi-ness" insinuated):
Something Fishy (SOLD)

Since then, I've taken classes and workshops from several artists and crafters and experimented with some new ideas (some worked, some failed). Having added what I learned there to the info from Les Petites, am thrilled to say that I've been working on developing my own unique and recognizable style.
painting the roses red

FINAL final version of Skele-Lulu painting

It would be SO easy to sit back and keep making the same stuff over and over again, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be fun. In the spirit of my new life-axiom, "Never stop learning or trying to do things that don't come easily," I've signed up for yet another Suzi Blu workshop. This time I am taking her portrait & journaling class, "The Goddess and The Poet." I already kinda want to pull my hair out.

Pretty easy:
graphite values sketch

More difficult:
features study (nose) - graphite
features study (eye) - graphite
features study (mouth) - graphite
face study #1 - more graphite shading

Thinking of throwing the Moleskine sketchbook out of a moving vehicle:
faces study - graphite with colored pencil
WIP - redhead study / class assignment
WIP - redhead journal page /assignment

Why was it that I thought taking a portrait journaling class would be a good idea?

Oh yeah, BECAUSE it wouldn't be easy.

Right. (Brilliant.)
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

My square for Body Tribe - Chalk It Up to Sacramento '09

Skelekitty made her debut as the representative for Body Tribe, my favorite gym / art gallery / dog park - the idea to use Skelekitty as the central image started as a joke because of the myth that if women lift weights, they will bulk up. 

I had a complete BLAST participating as a chalk artist in my very first Chalk-It-Up to Sacramento fundraiser, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding children's art in our region. Check out the rest of the photos from Saturday that I took.

I had tons of fun, despite my initial nervousness, having NEVER worked in the "chalk on sidewalk" medium. However, my sidewalk neighbor and new pal, Emily Elders, sure helped to get me drawing and kept me laughing all day long. Thanks to Darby Flynn for all the work she did (and for "volunteering" my services), to Body Tribe for letting me represent them with my first street art and, most especially, to my long-suffering husband Ron for shuttling me around and lugging my stuff across Fremont park (several times).
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kitty Kismet

Those of you who have been following my blog/facebook/twitter posts know that Ron and I put our old orange tabby cat, Finnegan, to sleep on Tuesday. It was the right decision, though it is never an easy one to see through.

As I mentioned in my last post, this cat has been with me since I was in my early 20s and has gotten me through break-ups, bad jobs, moves, family problems, money worries, unmedicated depression and more. Some days I wonder if I would have made it through my 20s, not to mention my 30s and into my 40s, without that fuzzy guy. I even gave up my engagement ring budget of $3,000 in 2002 to save him when he mysteriously stopped eating. I never once doubted that choice and am happy with my $299 pink sapphire and the extra seven years I got to spend with Mr. Ringie (nicknamed in 1998 for his tail, ironically enough).

Finnegan Francis O'Malley 1990-2009
"Finnegan Francis O'Malley" (1990-2009)

We arrived at our vet's office to some pretty sad faces. Everyone had an attachment to my funny old cat who most had known for ten years. One of the office staff said she had even thought of staying home. While I never forget how much animals touch the lives of their people, I overlook how much they touch the lives of everyone they meet.

We decided to get the paw-print plaque, which meant that we also needed to have a private cremation and would receive the ashes. I am one of those people who completely separates the spirit from the body in my mind, so a box of ashes itself doesn't mean much to me. Not to mention that I had NO idea what to do with a little pine box of "ex kitty" (Heather will get that reference, though precious few others ever will). The staff suggested planting a tree, or scattering them in his favorite outdoor place, none of which really struck me as completely "right," but as Ron pointed out, we'd figure that out when the time came.

Despite all the sadness, I am happy to say that his crossing over was very peaceful. Because of collapsed veins and a need for regular blood tests over the past few months, he had developed a stress response to needles (even acupuncture). Our long-time veterinarian Jodi VanTyne, DVM (who saved his life in 2002 and loved him very much) suggested an oral dosage that, while it would take longer, would let him leave this world without experiencing fear as his last emotion. Ron and I sat with him for a long time, petting him and talking to him. Jodi also joined us at our request, petting and talking to him. When it was clear that he was no longer aware of his surroundings, she finally gave him an injection and we all said goodbye. I gave him one last kiss and told him I loved him. Then I went home, cried, slept, started work on some memorial pieces and read all the wonderful comments & notes people left about my boy, all of which helps more than any of you could ever know.
coming along
Memorial pieces to work through
the grief of losing my 19 year old cat, Finnegan

Tuesday night, the fog of stress which had permeated the house for the last month lifted, and both kitties (Mouse and Gracie) and the dog slept in bed with us last night - totally incident-free.

Yesterday, my mind wandered back to Finnegan's ashes and what to do with them while I was talking to Allyson at the gym (aside: many of you may not know this, but personal trainers are kinda like bartenders or hairdressers -that is, psychologists/therapists-  who beat your ass silly for money). I was just thinking out loud that I didn't really want to bury him in the back yard of this house, since Ron and I don't want to stay here for more than five years (we have dreams of a bit more space around our home than 10 feet in each direction). As far as scattering his ashes somewhere he loved ... well, his favorite place for the last two decades has been sitting on my chest while I lie in bed, his paws on my face. Following a train of thought, I supposed I could put some of the ashes in a little vial and hang it from a chain so I could have Finnegan on my chest, near my heart, whenever I wanted...

And that is when I was hit by the obvious solution: A long-time co-worker of Ron's and now artsy-crafty friend of mine, Jim Adlhoch, introduced me to his line of hand made glass memorial lampwork beads about a year or so back.

To create a memorial bead, Jim incorporates a few granules of the cremains into the glass, which can take the shape of a focal bead for a pendant or smaller beads for earrings or a bracelet. He also makes some beads with trees on them, in the shape of vessels and that even mimic real stones:

Usually, people tell him what colors or color schemes they want, but as a fellow artist, I told Jim to let the glass tell him what it wanted to be. I gave him some general guidelines - I like dichroic glass and bright jewel colors, pinks or iridescents, but unfortunately don't look good in orange or yellow which were 'Ginnie's colors. I'm becoming pretty fond of the round clear/opaque mix bead to the right of the "vessel" bead in the first picture, but in various shades of pink....

Jim is also making Ron and I one of his beautiful "vortex" marbles and will be incorporating some of Finnegan's cremains in there as well. I told him Ron's and my favorite colors, and that Finnegan had greenish gold eyes with orange fur. We shall see what the glass says to him....

I love that we will be able to look at two beautiful works of art, made just for us, and remember all the wonderful things that Finnegan brought to our lives. Of course, when this project is all finished, I will be certain to post photos of our pieces, so stay tuned.

If you would like to have one of these memorial pieces, or just a pretty piece of handmade art glass, drop Jim a line (and tell him Skelekitty sent ya).

Jim Adlhoch
Woodland Hills, CA
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