Monday, December 7, 2015

Inspiration from Stories People Tell You

Next time someone starts telling you a story--about a recent trip, their childhood, or a funny thing that happened to them---listen. Carefully.  Picture the event in your mind.  Think about an interesting painting or collage that it inspires you to create.  Think of the colors you might use.

A friend of mine told me a story about a trip she took to Cuba and I had this image in my head of her wrapping her arms around all the children happy to see her. The photo above is just part of the painting that I was inspired to create. Although I would love to tell her story, it is her story to tell.  This is the inspiration I received from hearing it. 

Pay close attention to stories you hear, events that take place, movies you watch.  The stories you hear that touch you deeply are the ones that matter.  Those are the stories that can inspire great creativity.

As a thank you to my friend for the inspiration, I photographed the painting and with it created a beautiful hand made card that simply said "thank you for the inspiration."

I hope you too find inspiration and create original artwork.  Don't forget to thank the person that shared their story.

Happy listening!

Creatively yours,  Karen

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Art Journals

Art journaling is my all time favorite activity. Sometimes creating the art journal is the most fun.  For a while I was creating more art journals than I could fill, so they began to have different purposes.

This particular journal was a one month planner/journal.  I picked a theme for the month, which happened to be making changes.  So on the cover, I use a butterfly and you can see the phrases I used:  "Spread your wings and fly" and "next exit".  Inside are my daily activities, doodles, plans, thoughts, collages, and dreams,  This kept me on track for my monthly goal. It was a daily reminder of what I had planned for that month.  It gave me a nudge to create the changes I wanted to make.

This photo is of a page in a yearly planner, part of the Documented Life Project that inspired me to combine my daily planner with weekly art.

It is a simple collage that represents how getting outside and working in the garden, grounds you, and heals stress.

Here is a painting I did in a "round robin" art journal.  That was a lot of fun.  Our group of about 10 amateur artists each created a handmade art journal.  The journals were passed around on a monthly basis.  We took turns painting a page or two in each journal and eventually the journal returned home to it's original owner filled with delicious paintings.

I created this big journal to store all my creative ideas and dreams.  In the girl's hair is a paper rose I learned to make by watching a you-tube video.  There are so many great arts & crafts ideas on favorite pastime when I must be bedridden with the flu or other ailment/recovery.

I have many art journals, and all filled with delicious inspiration.  I can't wait to share them all in hopes of inspiring you.  My creative ideas were spawned by other artists sharing their wisdom and inspiration.  My goal now is to give back and do the same.

Thank you for visiting.  Leave me messages, I'd love to hear from you.

Creatively yours,


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Preparing for the Journey

I love traveling. I love art journaling.  I love day dreaming.  I love designing.  Put them all together and you get a unique travel journal.
I have quite a few travel journals now, some from long far away vacations and some from weekend romps.  But I have to say this one is one of my favorites.

I didn't buy anything new for this----I used what I had in my studio.  If you saw my studio you'd say I better do more of that because I have too much.  But sometimes saving too much junk turns into a beautiful creative project.  

Look at the cute binding!  I rolled handmade paper over small plastic tubes  saved from those doggie bag rolls.  I used leftover yarn to bind the signature pages, and the back cover was made from the plastic box top.  
In this photo you are looking through the plastic cover to the last page of the journal. As I type thisI am thinking about all the ways I can layer clear plastic in my journals.  So many ideas, so little time.
Of course a cute tie must be added that seems to match the theme of the trip:  beach colored twine. Lots of it!

I hope I've inspired you to look around you house for items you can use for free to spice up your next homemade journal!

Creatively yours,


Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Crazy Paper Lady

I always take an art journal with me when I travel. It is so much fun filling it with ephemera, photos, drawings and writings of where we went and what we did.  I try to prepare the journal ahead of the journey.  I think about the trip we are going on, where we are going, what we will be doing, and choose the size and style of the journal.  Some are hand-made, some are altered books, and some are store-bought. I find the options endless, so every journal is unique from the very beginning.

The anticipation of the vacation is enhanced when I am preparing a journal for the trip.  I put my heart into it and make it into something unique and memorable.  When I take the journal on the trip with me, it is something precious....something I have been working on for weeks, and sometimes months before the trip.  That preciousness is what motivates me to write about our journey -- where we went, what we did, funny things someone said, what we ate, surprises we encountered along the way.  There are little things I like to write in the journal that may get lost in our memory if I hadn't written it down.  In one of my travel journals, I created a stick figure-type drawing (amongst beautifully composed photos) because I could not capture the moment with a photo, and I didn't want to forget.  Now looking through that journal we all laugh at the drawing, but remember the event brilliantly.

I proudly earned the nickname "The Crazy Paper Lady."  My kids named me that because I collect paper everywhere we go while on vacation.  Imagine stopping at a nice clean affordable motel along your way to the destination.  You walk into the hotel lobby.  What catches your eye first?  For me it's the brochure rack filled to the brim with FREE cards and folded papers.  Sometimes I find local maps too. Just a little piece of heaven for an art journalist like me. I only take what I think I can use for this trip. (There is nothing worse than carrying too much stuff around on vacation).

I find papers EVERYWHERE.  And I am not talking about stalking the local craft stores along the way.  Most of my paper inserts for my journal (that I didn't bring from home) are totally free.  Have you ever been in a hotel room that has paper doilies for the glasses?  Mine.  Coffee stains make them even better!  LOL!!  Paper napkins or place-mats at restaurants (clean, unused of course) -- Mine.  Business cards, flyers & coupons for local businesses that are handed out on the street --MINE.  Just a side-note --- don't take the hand outs on the streets of Las Vegas.  If you've been there, you'll know what I'm talking about.  Free maps, local newspapers (I love to cut out the top of the paper that shows the newspaper name, city and date), then of course there are always more local brochures.  I usually take two in case I need to see both sides in the journal, although they can be inserted into journal pockets.

So yes, I am "The Crazy Paper Lady," and proud of it.  My journals have more memories than our brains could ever remember on their own.

Creatively yours,


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Express Yourself

This is the first page in one of my art journals.  It is so simple of a message, "Express Yourself" but so difficult to practice in real life.

We play many roles: mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee.  Many of these roles require us to limit our expression.  We fear being our true selves for fear of rejection or judgement.

Art journaling allows that wild, crazy, zanny person to be who she really is.  There is no fear or judgement in an art journal, especially if you decide to keep it completely private.

I have taken on-line art classes from some artists that have freed themselves from their art journals and have become themselves to all around them.  That is brave in a world that expects you to be the perfect mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee.

What happens if we let go an be ourselves?  What happens if we let go and be ourselves in our art journals?

I am still very conservative in my art journaling, but there are a few zanny brave pages.  I am not quite ready to release them to the world.  And that's ok.  That is what art journaling is for.

I hope that everyone reading this finds some quiet time to work in their journals.  I hope that you can find the wild, crazy, zanny person inside you to let go and release that passion into your art journal.

Express Yourself.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

Creatively yours,


Friday, February 20, 2015

Beauty in the Bleak & White

When the weather is bleak and white, there is bound to be some "close to home" inspiration and opportunities for memorable photos.

Years ago, living on Long Island, one of my all time favorite plants was the Azalea.  Our house was surrounded by Azaleas of all different colors and sizes.  Some must have been there since the house was built in the 60's. 

My husband and I did a lot of planning and upgrades to the house to make it our Home Sweet Home.

During renovations, dust covered every room, dinner was prepared in a toaster oven in the dining room, and boxes filled with brand new kitchen cabinets sat in our living room, as we waited for missing boxes and appliances to arrive.

There were walls to be painted, oak floors to be polished, and bedrooms to be decorated.  

When the paint fumes were just too strong, or the stress and chaos in the house was too much to handle, I would grab my camera and head out to our 2 acre wooded property.  I would wander around observing little details such as the dried leaves that refused to fall off the scraggly mountain laurel,and the fuzzy vine of poison ivy that wound its way to the top of an old oak tree.

Each season brought new discoveries and offered many photographic opportunities. Winter was the most surprising for me.  Looking out my shade-less windows, it looked grey, white and black.....everywhere. It seemed very bleak and gloomy. They skies were usually grey, the oaks, poplars, and laurel trunks a brown/grey, and small branches almost black. There were only a handful of evergreens on the property, and rarely any in sight from the windows.  

In the early morning hours, after a blustery evening snow storm, I found so much beauty.  Close up photos captured the intricate snowflakes settling peacefully on the delicate azalea branches. Close up shots also allowed me to eliminate all the gloomy background I was tiring of seeing day after day. 

These close up photos allowed me to hold on to the beauty of winter. When winter passed and the seasons went by, I would look at these photos and really appreciate the opportunity I had.  As difficult as winter was,I was able to capture these treasured moments of my peaceful wanderings and observation. 

After several years of hard work, sweat, and a lot of determination, our house was completely renovated and beautiful. I have many treasured photos taken from the beautiful old Home Sweet Home on the hill, in the woods, on Long Island.

Creatively yours,