An Artist's Quest

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The Return of Ordinary Time

Ode to ordinary objects, in my new art journal that I started yesterday!

Ode to ordinary objects, in my new art journal that I started yesterday!

Well summer is waning, don’t say it I know what your thinking “but it’s not even Labor day yet!” – true enough but for me – here – ordinary time has begun. School is back in session and I back to my classroom of kiddles, summer camps are over here at The Bishop’s Ranch, and summer visitors have all come and gone, my son is back at college. For me this is a perfect time to make some resolutions – create new habits, and get into gear with the habits I let slide in the extraordinary days of summer. So I’m back to my yoga class and morning hikes, I’m back to my breakfast of oats and quinoa and now I am adding flossing every day – I know what you’re thinking “she doesn’t floss everyday?” I confess I don’t and I’ve been lying to my hygienist for years but this week I have flossed every day! More importantly I have decided I want to meditate every day – a bit of flossing of the mind if you will- loosening of the flotsam and jetsam that clogs the mind and gently pushing it out. I have set the bar low to start I have been meditating 10 minutes a day. I figure if I can start that habit and prove to myself that I have the time then I will stretch it out longer as the fall progresses. I have to say I feel it, my teeth and gums are vibrant and happy and so is my spirit – things feel less stressed less pressing… Ok I know it’s only been a week but really It’s good – I’m keeping this habit.

To commemorate the opening days of ordinary time I decided to start a art journal. I haven’t really done one – I have a sketchbook that is more about ideas and inspirations but just quick notes and scribbles. I found this 1960’s art book- that was titled “Modern Painting, Contemporary Trends”. The pages are nice and thick and not glossy at all. If you can believe it the color art photos are pasted in individually! Anyhow I lightly gessoed up some pages and decided to do something…. I remembered my thoughts about the return of ordinary times and decided to depict ordinary objects. My eyes landed on my scissors and a sewing needle. So here it is the first two pages in my art journal (pictured above) I used pencil, marker, watercolor crayons, tissue and other papers from my stash with some matte medium over the top – Oh Yeah and of course as you’ve probably noticed my favorite obsession, I did a little spray painting with stencils too. I promise to show you more as ordinary time continues!

1960 art book

1960 art book “Modern Painting –  Contemporary Trends” spray painted of course!

Magazines and Swag!

Here I am in an awkward selfie so you can see the backpack I made from my Golden Gate fabric on the left and on the right is the 4 page spread in this issue of Quilting Art Holiday!

Here I am in an awkward selfie so you can see the backpack I made from my Golden Gate fabric on the left and on the right is the 4 page spread in this issue of Quilting Art Holiday!

I know I showed you my Golden Gate Fabric a few months back but I’m excited to tell you that blog post lead to a spread in the latest issue of Quilting Arts magazine. The editor contacted me to see if I would like to contribute to the annual holiday gift issue. I wrote about how I make the perfect bag and printing your own fabric from photos like these fabulous Golden Gate Bridge images.

This is just a quick post to link you up with some great sites. The internet now allows artists to create all kinds of things we never would have dreamed of before – sites like Spoonflower print fabric by the yard but not all of you sew or know what to do with a yard of fabric so I’ve uploaded to two site that have a vast array of products. My favorites are the printed scarves and leggings on Redbubble and the messenger bag and pillows on Zazzle. Check it out – I ordered a scarf for myself – I couldn’t resist!

Pick up this issue, it's filled with ideas and instructions to get going on your holiday gift making - or click the link below to buy a copy on-line.

Pick up this issue, it’s filled with ideas and instructions to get going on your holiday gift making – or click the link below to buy a copy on-line.

QUILTING ARTS – get your own copy of this issue!

SPOONFLOWER- fabric by the yard

REDBUBBLE – Golden Gate design on cool products

ZAZZLE -Golden Gate design on more cool products

Weft and Warp: the importance of long term friends.

These drawing were done on my flights North. It’s great to fly out on Santa Rosa because the plane is small and flies low so lots of opportunity to take pictures out the window. These two are both Sonoma county aerial vistas. I got some great shots of Puget Sound and you’ll be seeing those soon.

These drawing were done on my flights North. It’s great to fly out on Santa Rosa because the plane is small and flies low so lots of opportunity to take pictures out the window. These two are both Sonoma county aerial vistas. I got some great shots of Puget Sound and you’ll be seeing those soon.

219b.WestOfWindsor

Earlier in the summer I had the chance to fly up to the Pacific Northwest to visit with my college girl friends. It was so lovely to be with people who know me long and deep and who aren’t afraid to share the hard stuff and the silly stuff and to talk and talk and talk and also be ok with the silences (we didn’t have too much of that). My 30-year friendship with these wonderful women is so important and I’m grateful for their presence in my life. Everyone in this group has taken a unique path and our journeys have taken us away from each other but the thread that we spun together as young women in college remains an important part of the woven warp of my life and as the weft weaves a sturdy strong cloth I am ever grateful for these friendships that help make the weaving of my life rich and colorful.

So here’s to long friendships, if there is someone you’ve been thinking about who helped you become you – get in touch it will do your heart good!

Inspiration: sending it out and getting it back!

I'm holding the cardboard mask while my son sprays a design with spray paint.

I’m holding the cardboard mask while my son sprays a design with spray paint.

Ivan next to his cool designs...inspiration in action!

Ivan next to his cool designs…inspiration in action!

Those of you who have been watching my blog know that I have been loving the spray paint these days! I’ve been using it on fabric and encaustic collage and enjoying the layered results. So when my son wanted to design some t-shirts he was inspired by what I’ve been doing to try spray paint and stencils. He leafed through his sketchbook and found some bold images that would work great. Then he cut his stencils using a heat pen on clear acetate and was ready to spray. All summer he has been spraying and making cool stuff using his designs layered over some pattern stencils from my stash. For his birthday all he wanted was to have some friends over and have a t-shirt spraying party! I love that I could share the creative process with him and I’m blessed that I got to watch and learn as he tried different color and pattern combinations – inspiration coming back at me. Pretty soon my demi-adult will be back at college diving into his visual studies major- WOW – I can’t wait to see where the inspiration goes!

Flower to Fabric to Family Heirloom

On the left are the poppies in my yard and the fabric they inspired. On the left is the chair I reupholstered.

On the left are the poppies in my yard and the fabric they inspired. On the right is the chair I reupholstered.

In late spring the red poppies in my yard were in full bloom. Every couple of days I would take a picture of a bloom or two on my iPhone. When I scrolled through my phone photo file later, it seemed to me these photos would make a great fabric print. I cropped and manipulated about twenty close-up poppy photos and created a grid of poppies. Then using the PS touch and Waterlogue apps in my iPad I got this great, brilliant watercolor bleed effect. I up-loaded my image and had the pattern printed at Spoonflower on canvas weight fabric. Just recently I recovered this old craftsman chair that sat in my grandparents house when I was a kid. It’s lovely to have a bit of family history and my own fabric flare all rolled up in one living room chair. I’ve got to say I love how the digital age has expanded all the ways to manifest creativity – and can’t wait to see what’s next, what new ways to combine technology, creativity and craft!

You can buy this fabric and all my designs by the yard at http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/lisathorpe. Spoonflower has a wonderful array of fabric they print on from delicate Silk Crepe de Chine to hearty Eco Canvas and everything in between. Check it out!

Life’s Layers

Communing I made this last weekend during my Encaustic collage workshop- Sandwiching papers, silk organza and spray paint between layers of encaustic wax.

I made this last weekend during my Encaustic collage workshop. Sandwiching papers, silk organza and spray paint between layers of encaustic wax.

Life is a complicated thing – when some things are revealed others are hidden.  We are never in a place where we can see, feel, know, understand it all.  I am no exception, the future is unclear, the past is up for interpretation, and NOW, well now can seem like so much fog – tangible and real but not meant to be held or contained.  In an effort to be more in the now I’ve taken on a few personal challenges.  These are tidbits of advice gleaned from a facebook posts here and podcast there – no guru formula – just my own way of sorting my priorities – my own daily check list of things to make my life more grounded in today, to keep my body, mind and soul healthy.  Last fall my husband and I started an early morning exercise regime that I have been mostly faithful to along with some diet changes.  Those have been good for my body and now I’m ready to take my daily commitment to the next layer- mind and soul.  I’m trying to make a meditation practice happen, a friend was visiting recently and asked if I walked that labyrinth here at the Ranch regularly- the answer was no but then I thought why not?  So last week after exercising I walked over and took my shoes off and slowly walked to the center and out again- aware of the path on my bare feet, the breeze, the birds it was lovely, a simple passage to NOW.  My other new daily resolution is to commit a random act of kindness at least once a day.  These are simple things, holding a door, offering to take someones shopping cart to the holding pen in the parking lot, holding a women’s bike while she wrestles her child into the baby seat …. what ever it might be it forces me to be aware of the moment to be enough in the now to respond to what is around me and to offer the simple kindness of noticing, helping.

Here is my little list that I am trying to do most days:

  • Exercise
  • Eat right (you know what I mean)
  • Get enough sleep
  • Meditate
  • Commit at least one random act of kindness a day

That’s it- seems simple enough right?  Let me know what’s working for you!

Detail of layers

Detail of layers

Teaching & Learning

FEATHER- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

FEATHER- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

I taught and encaustic collage workshop this weekend and because it was a small group I was able to set up a work station and do some creating also!  And because it was a small group I decided to share with them an encaustic technique that I’ve been exploring that combines paper collage and the encaustic wax with the spray paint techniques I’ve been using with fabric. It was a lot of techniques for them to wade through but they had the time and space of the whole weekend and the lovely, supportive hospitality of the Ranch to allow them to create and explore.  One of my students has worked extensively with encaustic but not so much with collage and she shared some techniques and tools she has picked up along the way, including using silk in her pieces.  I was inspired by what she had done and got out some silk organza I had stenciled a few weeks ago. It acts a bit like tissue paper would be gives a different texture that is lovely.

SEEK- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

SEEK- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

Combining the collage techniques with the stencils spray paint on the encaustic creates an amazing effect. Each thin application of wax is a distinct layer.  In these examples I have both spray painted and glued papers to the base wood, then applied a layer of encaustic wax – stenciled pattern with spray paint on that then add tissue paper or silk organza that had stenciled patterns and images.  All these thin layers of pattern and color creates a piece full of depth and intrigue.

I hope to play around with all these mediums more this summer, combining and sharing what I know and gathering new ideas from others willing to share.

MEANING- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

MEANING- Encaustic Collage- paper, spray paint, silk organza, and encaustic medium

I will share more from the workshop later in the week – I have put these little beauties up for sale on my Etsy shop for under $50- hope you’ll check them out! NEW WORK

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