art journals.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

tried my hand at some abstract journaling.

Ever since I had the ability to write (non-sensical scribbles of a four year old count) I have kept a “diary.” I don’t know where the compulsion to keep a list of the daily mundane activities as a child: “Today I had rice crispies for breakfast…” The older i got, the more they developed into a living memory box of my life at that moment in time; and perhaps it started as my first paltry attempt at creating a sense of order from my distracted thoughts and messy brain. I have over 30 completed journals, which is roughly one per year.  The style and format of my journals adapts to the seasons of my life. During college and Graduate school, my journal functioned as my day planner and the keeper of my sanity. During periods in my life where I have been happy, I notice that I do more art and very little journaling. During tough times however, my journals are filled with sad song lyrics, to-do lists and life questions.

Do you like to look back at your journals? If so, do you do it often? Is creating a written record of your life to reflect back on a reason for your journaling? I am very interested to know. I can honestly say that, that is not the case with me, as writing for reflection at a later period of time would require to much forethought and planning for me. My journal has become one of my few necessities which I carry with me at all times in my bag. It is given the impossible responsibility of keeping me sane (emotionally balanced and organized enough to survive) ..so when I complete one journal, I see it as a memento of the craziness which is my life- maybe one day, when I am normal, I will want to look back at my journals to feel sorry for my crazy self.

Here are a few of my own art journal pages:

my art journal page

my art journal page

my colorful cacti

my colorful cacti

one of my favorite quotes

one of my favorite quotes

Frida and Virginia from my journal.

Frida and Virginia from my journal.

Anyways, I love nothing more than seeing pages from other peoples’ journals. I feel like I am getting a naked glimpse at their soul. I am always so amazed and inspired by the creative, beautiful things that people put down onto pages. One of my favorite artists,  Geninne Zlatkis, has the most beautiful and awe inspiring journal pages. I love all of her work and I also LOVE how she adapts her art journal entries into a day planner. Genius!!

Geninne’s Journal Page

from her flickr account

from her flickr account (October Days) 

more of Geninne's beauty

more of Geninne’s beauty

Here is the link to her flickr account for you to check her out more!: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geninne/sets/72157594514015991/

Another one of my favorites is Guilherme Dietrich. I fell in love with the bright, bold colors and vivid pieces. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after I saw these. Unfortunately, his flickr account is no longer active and the website I found him on, isn’t either. But here are some of his beautiful pages to feast your eyes at (pangs me to know I will never create something this beautiful)

879094f849e6a1dba2595504a41cbf7e

What inspires you? Why do you journal? I would love to see!

crystal crazed (and pretty darn obsessed with rocks, stones, minerals…)

Before there was Pinterest to feed my obsessive online habits, I quenched my creative thirst by endlessly browsing Etsy for whatever project or subject I was enraptured with at the moment. Whether it was:  amethyst geode bookends, Mexican tooled leather bags, antique blue teacups, vintage French children’s’ books, fresh succulent cuttings or watercolor paintings of feathers, I’d favorite dozens of each and salivate over them until I finally bought something or I got distracted. Sigh…brings back some good memories (and many, many hours!!!). 
Raw minerals and crystals are always one of those things I always come back to. I am drawn to the bright, beautiful array of colors and the amazing and intricate shapes. I am continually in awe of the earth’s ability to create the most astounding works of art. After looking at these rocks and minerals dug out from under the ground, I always come to the conclusion that nothing I, or any human, ever creates will be as beautiful as they are. 
Above are some of my favorites I have put together, most of which can be found on etsy. In the top left image, I love how EarthSkyWarrior (a “Neo-Nostalgic boutique specializing in peculiar One-of-a-Kind home decor misfits & oddities based in Brooklyn, NY”) designed these Blue Agate geode bookends with the plant growing out of one side ($221.00). The top right image is a print by  Vancouver-based artist Jeff Hamada, the creator and founder of http:www.booooooom.com. The middle image of the agate geode slice necklaces are by Linsey, a jewelry designer out of Dallas, Texas and can be found for $48.00 a piece at her Esty shop, MesaBlue. The bottom left is by FAR one of the most beautiful Australian Opal Rings that I have ever seen. I have lusted after it for awhile now and will have to be satisfied with oogling it it via pictures. It is from the brilliant jewelry designer of Sasa Jewelry, Sasa Blackoff. Finally, the bottom right are set of four XL Agate Geode slab coasters by SaraReynoldsJewelry also on Etsy and a steal at $45.00. 

Here are some of the drawings I did in my sketchbook.I definitely need a lot of practice, drawing gems, crystals and minerals takes a lot more patience and focus than I am used to!



Here are a few more of my favorites, just because I couldn’t stop!


drusy diamond ring

r

drusy ring

Gem and Mineral Grid Collage

geometric print

Boulder Opal

2014 minerals calendar

Artist Spotlight: Natalie Jean Bauer

by Natalie Jean Bauer 
This “Artist Spotlight” post idea came to me one night when I was thinking of how so many of my friends are talented artists and besides that, they are all also pretty hilarious. This is my little way of exposing the world (or a few hundred people a month) to the amazing-ness that they bring to my world and how happy they make me. And hopefully share that with someone else! So, I came up with some questions (some I borrowed from other art blogs) and asked my friend Natalie if she would let me interview her and post some of her artwork on my blog. Natalie is one of the most humble artists (and also one of the funniest) that I know. I have (selfishly) asked her when she is planning on making prints of her artwork and selling them, so I can buy one…but not yet. I’m wearing you down Natalie! So, hopefully you get some enjoyment out of this post AND…
if YOU or anyone you know wants to be featured in an “Artist Spotlight” post, then email me at forourcity@gmail.com. Send me a couple pieces of your artwork (whether its music, paintings, photography, dancing, stand up comedy..it all works for me!) and answer the questions. I will feature you in the next post! 

 Who are you and what do you do?

I am Natalie Jean Bauer.  I try to paint, draw, and write as often as my big dumb brain will allow.
Describe yourself in five words:
Usually really terrible at this.
Do you have a favorite piece of yours?  If so, why is it your favorite?

No favorites, really.  They are all a labor of love and yet I am my own worst critic.  The entire process of creating anything has always been essential for me, but the second I finish a piece (be it a painting, story, comic, whatever) I still notice every rough edge, every single area that shows room for improvement.  This is good in that it always drives me to further develop whatever skills I may possess, but awful when it comes to confidence in my own abilities.  I’ll probably spend the rest of my life trying to shut this off.  I am ruthless and insatiable.
Any tips or inspiring words for other artists?

Find it in yourself.  Keep fumbling and learning and don’t lose heart.  Surround yourself with books and songs that make you want to scream and explode into a million stupid pieces because of how good they are.  Pile more love and effort on literally everything you’re doing.

 Can we find you anywhere on the world wide web?


Art-wise?  Besides Facebook, not really.  I don’t have a personal website, at least not yet.  I’ve always been intensely private and enjoyed my anonymity.  A bit selfish, probably, but so often I anticipate being critiqued in a way I won’t recover from.  I don’t handle rejection well despite all the practice I’ve had.
What is your favorite:
Color?  The particular shade of green usually limited to chalkboards; grey in the beard of a young man.
Animal?  My dog, Roxy Carmichael, is the obvious answer here.  She has the personality of Gilda Radner, the heart of Gandhi, and the eyes of everyone you’ve ever loved.
Movie?  “Santa Sangre” has been in heavy rotation for me lately.  Otherwise, Martin Short’s “Clifford” never fails to improve my mood.
Book?  I just re-read Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves” for maybe the fifth time and it is always such a task but so beautiful and worthwhile.
What work do you most enjoy doing?

Honestly, it depends on my mood and focus.  It all comes in waves; I’ll sometimes go weeks where I mainly focus on writing and finishing a story and not pick up a brush or pencil at all.  But then before I even know it, the opposite becomes true:  I’ll slave over new paintings or comics before I become conscious of the fact that I haven’t written anything in months.  It’s bizarre.  My Moleskines are erratic at best.

Name something you love, and why?


I love The Voyager Golden Record.  It’s this gold-plated record that was sent into space on The Voyager so that if any aliens ever found it, they could listen to this record and know what Earth was like.  The record had an introduction, greetings in fifty-five languages, and the sounds of our planet — a whale song, crickets, the sound of an earthquake, a volcano, thunder, laughter, footsteps, wind, water, a kiss, a wild dog, heartbeats I think.  It had twenty-seven songs on it from all over the world, including Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Chuck Berry, and Louis Armstrong.  At the end of the record there were brainwaves.  The wife of one of the men in charge of the record got hooked up to a machine and her brainwaves were turned into sound.  She thought all about the earth and the life on it, poverty, suffering, and some history she could remember.  At the end, she decided to make a personal statement.  The very last thing she wanted her brainwaves to send out there, the very last thing on this golden record that we sent into space for aliens to find and learn and judge about us, was what it felt like to fall in love.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

More often than not, I feel I have no truly creative ideas.  And everything I write, think, paint, or say has already been written, thought, painted, or said by many others.  And though I value the wonderful varied perspectives of people everywhere, it makes me feel like poo.  During a public internet meltdown of sorts, I had two people whose brains and artistic endeavors I admire impart two pieces of wisdom to me in such a way that it helped to hear at that precise moment.  The first was:  the truth is that all creativity amounts to in the first place is putting the basic stuff of existence into different patterns.  These patterns have personal meaning to us.  We ourselves constitute a changing pattern in relation to the rest of the universe.  Creativity is either infinite or ‘virtually infinite.’

The second was:  you just worry about making art because you’ll die if you don’t.

I try to remember both of these things in my worst moments of self-sabotage and doubt.


Name something you don’t love, and why?

I hate labels so much.  Here I am not referring to ethnic, racial, or other discriminatory and/or offensive tags (although OF COURSE I hate those, too).  Specifically I mean things such as price tags and the stickers on plastic bins that helpfully note “Sterilite Storage Bin.  For storage.  Store your shit up in this piece, mofo!”  I compulsively pick labels off of everything that is around for even a short time in my life.  This urge is slightly in opposition to my love of text — I like monograms, painting words on walls, having lots of chalkboards and papers and quotes and journals sitting around, just to put thoughts down on.  I guess it’s just that I want to control how many and what kinds of words and text are thrown at me in my home.  Everything outside is so coated in manipulative slogans and advertising (I mean seriously, you can’t even pee at a bar without forty flyers adding to the visual chaos) that I need to be able to look around my apartment without It’sallinside-Nobodydoesn’tlove-Refrescante-Eatfresh-Ownstheroad-Stayclosealittlelonger-Doubleyourpleasure-Choiceofthenew-Camitasmejors-Gentleman’sclub-Whatissexy-It’syourlife-Thenewalbum-Unböring-Unbroken-Undecided-Uncoordinated-Unlisted-Underground-Unrefined blazing across my retinas like Satan’s own stock ticker.

What couldn’t you do without?

It’s so clichéd of an answer, but there’s no way in hell I would have lasted this long without the people I am so blessed enough to call my friends.  I couldn’t have asked-begged-prayed-starved for better people to keep.

.

 You’ve been selected to go on an all-expenses paid drinking binge with one famous artist, one famous writer, and one free choice.  Who would you choose?


Dead or alive?  I think this answer changes daily for me.  So today I would probably go with Odilon Redon because stylistically I have never wanted to emulate someone SO MUCH.  His paintings are pure magic.  Oscar Wilde, because deep-down I identify with the burned-out view and the scathing insight.  And the free choice…  I guess it’d be that neighbor dog with short legs who runs the way shrimp swim. I like when there’s a dog at a party so my social anxiety doesn’t run down my phone’s battery
Would you rather eat a handful of hair or lick three public telephones?

Whose hair?  My own hair?  I think I’d sooner set myself on fire than lick a public ANYTHING, to be honest.  I probably ingest more than a handful of dog hair on a daily basis anyway, thanks to Roxy Carmichael’s proclivity for shedding.  I’m going with the hair.  I think I could better survive that from an emotional standpoint.


art lately: geometric art

some art from my journal…I am loving triangles and simple gemoetric shapes right now.

I will be the first to admit, that I rarely, if ever, have a original art idea. I always see pieces that I love and admire, and usually want to buy for my house so I can stare at them forever but cant afford them so I create my own version, and more versions and they are not exact replicas by any means. I don’t think I am an artist, I think I am just really good at copying other people. 
I did this one on an a sheet of music from an old family chorus book I got at the thrift store.

This one was with watercolors and sharpie in my journal.
I call this one “Triangle Lady.”
And here are some of my favorite geometrical prints I have found on various sites: 
I LURRV THIS ONE: “Sami Woman Print” by lisacongdon
“Her Colorful Coat” Original drawing by heartpumpsart 
“The dimensions of a Volcano” by Judy Kaufmann
“If I could I Would Give You the Entire Universe” print by artist: Meredith Schwab via her etsy shop dittydrops

Art Lesson for Kids: Canvas Colorfield Art Journals

So, I’ve started my after-school art class at the elementary school where I teach. At first, I was nervously checking the office for completed registration forms and worried I wouldn’t have enough students BUT lo, and behold, I reached my limit of 20 students and went past it, ending up with 24 students in 2nd-4th grade!
In our first class, students created their own art journals using the “colorfield” technique of abstract painting and canvas. I found this lesson on Dick Blick’s website. Here is the link: http://www.dickblick.com/lesson-plans/color-field-sketchbook/
The finished art journals should end up looking something like this:

The kids LOVED making their journals but it was a little messy. I spent a good two hours after they left scrubbing the paint from the tables, stools, and floor. So, just wanted to CAUTION you if you plan on doing this with kids (or even if you do it for yourself) you will need LOTS of old newspaper, or trash bags, and paper towels. 
So, how to make these lovely journals you ask? All you need are various colors of acrylic paints, unprimed canvas, plastic cups, an empty spray bottle and some paint brushes. 
* For each color you want to use, squirt about tablespoon of paint into a disposable cup and then put about a tablespoon of water in the cup (less water for darker colors) and mix with a paintbrush until smooth. Choose 3 or 4 colors you want to use (remember that mixing more than 3 colors together in one place will create a brownish blah color) 
* Fill the spray bottle with water and spray sections of your canvas (this will help create the swirly patterns when the colors mix together with the water and the dry canvas). 
* Pour onto the canvas! 
Experiment with different colors and different “pouring techniques.” Try pouring from far away, to create a splash pattern. Use a paintbrush to flick a spatter pattern, or pour colors, then tip the canvas up, so that the colors create a “raindrop” or “drip” pattern. 
* Be careful of using too much water, or pouring too much, because it will pool on the canvas and mix with all the other colors to create an unpleasant brownish color. 
I spent way to much time on mine…I used a lot of white paint, because I found that it brightened the colors and kept it from becoming to dark. Here’s how mine turned out….I am sure if I was to make another one, it would be completely different. 
I think next time, I want to try a more simple approach; using only 2 or 3 colors and not worrying so much if there was blank canvas. 
These are just a few of the outcomes from my students..I love how unique and colorful they all turned out. I can see their individual personalities in the colors they used and how they mixed them: 

Binding these guys is a whollllle other story!

Felt-tastic Necklaces


Happy New Years!!!! I hope everyone had a fantastically memorable New Years Eve. Mine was definitely memorable but not so much fantastic.  We listened to a really horrible 70’s cover band (in TIGHT COSTUMES!) and watched a bunch of surprisingly limber, but incredibly inappropriate drunk old women dance.  Next year, I’m not even going to try. I will be at my house, with my husband and my dog; which is always what I wish I was doing when I am out on New Years Eve.

Anyways. Back to felt. fantastic felt! felt-tastic.

Felt. I love this stuff! I’ve been hearing a lot about felting crafts in the past few years- it seems to be what all the cool kids are crafting these days- but,  as usual, I am running a little bit behind with the “trends” and have only just fallen in love with felt! And fell hard! 
So I thought I would share this felt flower necklace craft that I’ve adapted from a couple of different crafters….I love Martha Stewart’s fabric flower necklace and have unsucsessfully attempted it several times but my flowers don’t look anything like Martha’s. And I KNOW for a fact that I picked up the felt flowers from some creative and inspiring crafter on the internet but I cannot find the website for the life of me! I’ll add the links in when I find them.  
Making the felt flowers are super easy. All you need are felt squares, which come in so many different bright and fun colors (Michael’s has them for $.29 per 8 x 11″ sheet), permanant marker, craft scissors, tacky glue (the clear kind works the best) and random circular objects of various sizes!  They come in so many bright and fun colors too.  Just trace various sized circular objects and cut them out. 

 The next step is cutting the felt circle by cutting in a circular spiralliing motion. Then, starting from the inside, with the smallest circle, overlap the layers to create wider and wider circles. Dab some clear tacky glue every once in a while on sections of the felt and then a dab of clue and the ending tip to keep it together.

Once you have a good amount of completed felt flowers, (as you can tell from the above pictures of my felt flowers, I got a little OCD and made way more felt flowers than is needed), then you need to make the base of the necklace. I’ve used a kidney bean shape to create a curve around the neck, but you can do anything really. 

 Using needle and thread, arrange the flowers and sew them onto the backing. I also threw in some

colorful beads. 
Thanks to my beautiful friend Mary who was nice enough to be my felt-tastic model!

you are the…

a new idea I had the other night when I was watching What About Bob…(my favorite movie) and thinking of how I feel like sometimes I am Bob Wiley and my husband is Dr. Leo Marvin.

and it just kept going from there….

you are the milo to my otis.

you are the fraggle to my rock.

you are the elliott to  my e.t.
 (can you tell I grew up in the late 80’s/early 90s?)