Friday, September 25, 2009

I went a little mad at Blick Madness......

Blick Madness

$126. I spent one hundred and twenty six dollars at Blick yesterday. Arrrgh! I never usually spent more than $20-$50 at one time but this time I went a little crazy. Yesterday was Blick Madness - an in store promotion where they had special discounts and free prizes. I won a Canson Universal Sketch pad when I took a spin on the prize wheel. Wheee!

I walked in with two coupons. One for 30% of one non-sale item, and another for 20% off my entire purchase. The 30% coupon went towards a much needed Prat presentation case for transporting my work. Regularly $56, I got it for $41. (Though I just noticed that Blick's online price was $14 cheaper than the in store price. Grrrr but at least I didn't have to pay shipping.)

I initially went there with the sole intention of replacing a few of my worn out Pitt Brush pens and picking up a few new watercolor pencils. You can see from the image above how much restraint I was able to muster up. I just started tossing things in the basket without thinking... until she rang it all up. I did replace 7 ailing Pitt Brush pens, and then found two new colors. Anytime I go to Blick I pick up a few extra of the Fine black Pitt pens because they don't last long and I use them all the time.

A month or so ago when I decided to buy some Faber Castell Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils, (at the suggestion of several artists that claimed them to be the best) I bought a selection of colors I thought I would use but I hadn't tested them in the store using any water. This time I went with a sketch pad, my own set of pencils, and a filled waterbrush and tested about 50 different of the AD pencils against the ones I already had. Luckily I got away with only buying 7 more.

I wanted to try the Bombay White ink after seeing fellow blogger Daisy Yellow create white mandalas on black paper. I want to try it with my Herbn glass dip pen. I'll let you all know how that works out for me.

I like using the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and rather than just buy one or two, I decided to buy a small set since I previously enjoyed using most of those colors.

I bought yet another Niji Waterbrush because even though I know I have 5 or 6 of them here in the house, for some reason, I can never find them. I absolutely love them but I do notice that after a while, the brushes do get a little raggedy.

I've recently gone back to trying the Micron pens - the grip isn't as nice as on the Pitt pens, but they seem to flow rather nicely and I will see how they continue to hold up over time.

The Stabilo rollerballs were on clearance and an impulse buy. They are just ok. I'll probably leave them in the community pen jar for my husband to use. Blick had a ton of Stabilo products on their clearance shelf.

At less than $1 each, I found a few more cool colors of the Uniball EX2 stick pens. I only like a rollerball pen that has a cap - I can't stand the flexing of a click pen so I really like these cheapie pens. To me, these are the closest thing to a fountain pen - flow is great and I don't have to worry about losing them if I take them out of the house.

I also picked up a small pencil sharpener with a wide opening for the watercolor pencils, as well as one more clamshell storage box to hold all my completed artwork.

Even though I greatly exceeded my Blick budget, it was all (mostly) things I needed, or will definitely use. Now, I'm off to play!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This isn't live, it's Memorex. Spoonflower Prints Art on Fabric....

Fabric printed from my original art

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post asking for ideas on what to do with my art. I received many suggestions and it wasn't until I found the website Spoonflower that I got really excited about the possibilities. Spoonflower prints your designs onto fabric. When I found the site I was doing backflips as people have been suggesting to me for years that I should do fabric design - and it wasn't until now that I found a way to make that happen.

Fabric printed from my original art

As I perused the Spoonflower website, I saw that most people were using graphics to design their fabrics. I didn't see much in the way of hand drawn art so when I selected these three images, I literally had zero expectations on how they would come out. As my mandalas are somewhat imperfect in their symmetry, I decided to try cropping the designs to see how they would come out. This first piece was taken from a photo of the original art. (Original art is shown to the right above.) It's printed on organic cotton ($27 a yard) and looks better in person than in this picture. My only complaint is that I chose a piece where I had inadvertantly colored over some of the black lines with colored pencil and that shows. (But maybe I'd be the only one to notice...)

Fabric printed from my original art

This next piece was taken from a scan of the original and I did a mirror pattern on quilting fabric. ($18 a yard) The original is shown on the left. I was BLOWN AWAY at how clearly this piece was reproduced. The 8x8" test swatches in this image and above cost $5 each.

Fabric printed from my original art

Lastly, I decided to do a repeating pattern of one of my most favorite images. This is a fat quarter (26x18") in the organic cotton which cost $14. At the last minute when I was editing the image, I made the background purple. I freaking love it. In fact, when I opened my package, I had tears in my eyes because I really just didn't expect these to turn out as good as they did. I even called Spoonflower to tell them so. Though these are simple fabric tests, seeing them has opened a whole world of possibly for me - even though I don't sew. :o)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reliving My Childhood at the Fair

Ferris Wheels

Last Sunday, I went to my second festival of 2009. What's odd about this is that prior to this year, it had been at least 10 years since I'd been to a fair because it's just not my scene. I don't have children, I don't ride the rides, and as far as the food goes, there isn't much for a vegetarian to eat at these kind of events.

Wheel against the mountain

This festival was HUGE and it was in the middle of a small town in Northeastern PA. My husband & I had set out for a car ride to nowhere in particular and when we got near this part of the state, I had remembered seeing something in the paper about this event and so I thought we'd give it a try.

I always knew this as The Zodiac

This festival was very old-fashioned in many ways and I think that's what I loved about it the most. Lots of homemade food, local crafters, boys from the high school football team walking around wearing their jerseys - it was like something out of a movie.

They had many different amusement rides that I remembered from my childhood - like the one above. Not that I ever went on it, because as a child, 99% of rides made me ill. I specifically remember getting off the Tilt-O-Whirl and singing into the first garbage can I saw. (Dad bringing me 7-Up to calm my stomach... lying on a bench trying to feel better...) Same thing with that pirate boat ride. Upchuck the boogie woogie. I can't stand things that spin or drop where it makes my stomach lurch. (Don't even ask me about the Back to The Future ride at Universal Hollywood a few years back- I ended up with vertigo.)

No way...

A Ferris wheel where the cars flip over? Oh my goodness no..... (Did you know that the world's tallest Ferris wheel is in Singapore and is 541ft tall? It's called the Singapore Flyer.)

One time down at the Jersey shore, my parents let me ride a mini-roller coaster. (I was about 8 or 9) I was the only one riding that ride and after about 20 seconds, I screamed my head off for the ride operator to stop the ride because I was so afraid. I can still see my parents standing there laughing at me. Oh the joy...

My All-time favorite ride

And then I saw this..... The Scrambler. It was my ALL TIME favorite ride. I actually started to tear up when I saw that the name hadn't changed, nor had the logo. For a brief moment, it really transported me back in time. When I was little, I would BEG my Dad to take me to the amusement park but it was a rare occasion that he actually did. I don't think he appreciated taking me there only to have me end up crying and throwing up because I couldn't stomach the rides. When he would take me, this was the one ride I could go on all night long. Last weekend I watched this ride doing it's crazy mixer like movements and I REALLY wanted to go on it...but I resisted. Like my Mom used to say, "I'm too old for that stuff." Instead, I just stood there and enjoyed my little time warp moment- like how they would always stick my bony butt in the inner side of the car so when the ride moved around I'd get crushed.


My husband and I walked around the event several times, snacking on some salt & vinegar french fries, a plate of elephant ears, and a cold glass of orangeade. We listened to some music and watched the rides spin around on an absolutely beautiful Indian Summer day. It was so good, I am really looking forward to going back again next year. - and maybe, just maybe, I'll ride the Scrambler again.

PS - I took all these pictures with my cell phone and they all came out really bad... very dark and not reflective of the beautiful day at all. A few tweaks in Picasa including adding the "film grain" filter and they came out looking as if they were taken with a 110 Instamatic from the 70's. Bingo!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make Time to be Creative This Weekend


I can't image a day without being creative. Whether I'm writing, drawing, or making music, I try always express myself in some way each and every day. I don't do this to please anyone else- I do it just for me.

Still Gathering Thoughts

The secret is to just do something because it feels good to be doing it. Release any judgments you have about whether or not what you do is any "good" because it doesn't matter. There is only to do. :o)


This weekend, set a side an hour or two and pull out the paints, the knitting needles or that old acoustic guitar and just let go and have fun!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Does the right paper make you more productive?

Red Safari on Black Moleskine on Red Habana on get the idea

I have obviously tested quite a few different kinds of paper. Paper for writing, for drawing & painting. While I can be creative with whatever you put in front of me, I find myself to be a great deal more productive when the paper and the media work together in a way that I find harmonious.

I'm still trying to find the "ultimate" paper for journal writing because without a functional form factor to suit my needs, good paper is useless. Take the Pentalic Sketch Journal as an example. Great paper, but I need a hard cover and a book that open/lies flat. I liked the design and plain ivory paper in the Medio Ciak but eventually found that the paper didn't work as well with fountain pen ink as I would have liked it to. Right now, I'm working in a Rhodia Webnotebook and it seems to be meeting most of my needs, (I would prefer a plain papered version...) but I will have more to say when I reach the end of the book.

One thing that drives me crazy is having to finish a journal that I don't like using. The volume of my writing tends to slow, and if it's really bad, I will stop using it and start a different one - though I will go back now and again until I eventually finish it.

So how does this work for you? Do you write/draw etc. more and of better quality/quantity when you use a paper that you really like? And what do you do with the products that you don't like? Can you work through until it's completed?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wed. September 9th, Free NYC Concert with Glen Velez & Lori Cotler

If you are in or around New York City on September 9th, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this FREE concert with Glen Velez & Lori Cotler. Last fall, I had the great opportunity to take a workshop with Glen who is considered to be one of the best frame drum players in the WORLD.

Please join The WAE (Wellness, Arts and Enrichment) Center as we host our second Global Beat Concert of the year.

EVENT: Master Percussionist Glen Velez Teams Up With Rhythmic Vocalist Lori Cotler for Global Beat Concert.

Where: Montclair Public Library
When: Wed, Sept 9, 2009
Time: 7 pm
Cost: FREE !

For information email Elaine Schenkel at or call her at (973) 865 - 7371. Info on performers below...

Drawing on the great drumming traditions of the Middle East, South India and the Mediterranean world, four-time Grammy award winner Glen Velez utilizes a vast culmination of complex hand and finger techniques to create a symphony of sound and texture from a single held frame drum.

Accompanying him on vocals is Lori Cotler who can execute with her human voice, maneuvers which do not seem possible in their rhythmic speed and clarity. Blending musical traditions from six continents, this duo mesmerizes audiences of all ages with their hypnotic overtones and dynamic rhythms. For more information on the performers, visit Glen Velez's website at

And one last video of the two of them together.

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