Friday, November 28, 2014

Mermaid Swap - Artist Trading Cards

noun: mermaid; plural noun: mermaids
  1. a fictitious or mythical half-human sea creature with the head and trunk of a woman and the tail of a fish, conventionally depicted as beautiful and with long flowing golden hair.
Word Origin and History for mermaid
mid-14c., mermayde, literally "maid of the sea," from Middle English mere "sea, lake". Old English had equivalent merewif "water-witch", meremenn "mermaid, siren." Tail-less in northern Europe; the fishy form is a medieval influence from classical sirens. A favorite sign of taverns and inns since at least early 15c. (in reference to the inn on Bread Street, Cheapside, London). Mermaid pie (1660s) was "a sucking pig baked whole in a crust."


[sahy-ruh n]

1. Classical Mythology. one of several sea nymphs, part woman and part bird, who lure mariners to destruction by their seductive singing.
2. a seductively beautiful or charming woman, especially one who beguiles men:

a siren of the silver screen.

7. seductive or tempting, especially dangerously or harmfully:

the siren call of adventure.

verb (used with object)
9. to allure in the manner of a siren.
Today's vocabulary lesson is a not so subtle segue-way into my next set of Artist Trading Cards!
The theme is Mermaids.  The rules... why, there are no rules!  Ok, ok, so there is one rule - the size of the ATC of course.

 Materials Used:

Dylusions Ink Spray - London Blue & Vibrant Turquoise
Recollections Stencil - Vines
Graphic 45 Stamp - By the Sea Collection (mermaid)
Dylusions Stamps - Clearly Under the Sea
Ranger Glossy Accents
Faber-Castell Gelatos - Various colors
Signo Uni-ball Angelic White Gell Pen
Purple Marker of some sort (I can't even find the marker now to tell you what I used!)
Vintage Dictionary Pages
Hampton Arts - Wood Alpha Stamps (2 kinds)
Ranger Archival Ink - Jet Black

That mermaid was NOT easy to cut out, just let me tell you!  And I let the gelatos run outside of the lines quite a bit to make up for it.

I had originally planned on a little different track with these lovely ladies - a couple of different stamp sets, but I hadn't gotten around to ordering them yet.  Use what you have!  The still turned out wonderfully, in my opinion.
I'm off to dream of sirens and mermaids.  Y'all take care!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Swap - Artist Trading Cards

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is actually tomorrow.  This month has flown by and this year has disappeared faster than a maker when my toddler is around!

Of course there has been a Thanksgiving Swap this year.  Here are my ATCs.

I managed to take a couple of process shots.  And yes, I did work on these while at work!

Materials Used:

Distress Inks - Gathered Twings, Festive Berries, Mustard Seed, Rusty Hinge, Walnut Stain, & Spiced Marmalade
We R Memory Washi Tape
Darcie's Heart and Home Cling Mounted Stamp Set - Plenty of Fun
Various markers (stamp & crayola)
Patterned Paper by 7Gypsies
Brown Cardstock
Gold glitter glue by Studio G

I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow with good food and great company.  Take care.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Enjoy the Journey - Artist Trading Cards

Hi y'all!  Today I want to share some more ATCs that I made just for fun.

There are several reasons that I am enjoying making all of these ATCs.

I'm pushing myself as an artist.  Working small is not easy for me to do - I'm more of a large scale kind of artist and these teeny tiny canvases are sometimes very difficult for me.  I want to use things that are too big, or want to just go crazy slapping on layer after layer and yet, I have to try to preserve some of the under lying layers.  Not easy, but definitely a learning experience.

It's a great way to test new techniques and media.  This is a really good one.  Art Journals are great for this as well.  They're tiny (or small) little works of art that don't have to be perfect and that you are absolutely free to make all sorts of mistakes with.  And who cares if it doesn't turn out just lovely?  Make another!  And another.  They're also great for using tiny scraps of paper or washi tape or those tiny little stamps and stencils that would get lost on something larger.

They don't take that long to make.  Well, they don't if you make fairly simple ones!  My style as an artist, one that I find myself going back to frequently, is layers.  Lots of layers.  Layers on top of layers.  I do this on canvas, I do it in my art journal, and I most definitely do it on ATCs.  And creating all of those layers takes time.  However, I can still create a huge batch of ATCs in about the same time as it would take to create a small painting or two page art journal spread.

They are fun to give away and equally fun to receive.  I love trading and sending ATCs to people.  I love making people smile and knowing that little piece of my art is brightening someone's day.

So now that I've gone into all of that, we'll move right along to these fun cards I made.

I get a monthly stamp kit from Unity Stamp Co.  To be honest, I get several monthly kits.  But the one I'm talking about today is the S.M.A.K. kit from this month (November 2014).  As soon as I got my happy package in the mail, I knew I had to jump right in and use some of the stamps!

One of these days, I promise I'm going to be better about taking process pictures.  I'm really trying, but I get so in the moment that I completely forget.

Materials Used:

Dylusions Ink Sprays - Funky Fuchsia & Vibrant Turquoise
Distress Paint - Mowed Lawn, Broken China, Weathered Wood
Faber-Castell Gelatos - Licorice
The Paper Studio - Butterfly's Song Designer Tape
The Paper Studio - Spare Parts Washi Tape (the Harlequin tape)
Liquitex Basics - Alizarin Crimson Hue
Americana Acrylic Craft Paint - Whispering Turquoise
Sakura Souffle Pen - turquoise
Unity Stamp Co. - November 2014 S.M.A.K. kit (2 stamps)

Fiskars - Simple Stick Stamps - Teresa Collins - Paris
Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Clear Stamps - the Journey
Bubble Wrap
Old Gift Card
Vintage Dictionary Pages
Cricut Expression machine with Plantin Schoolbook Cartridge

There is a lot going on with these cards, but I think it all works!  They were fun any how.

That's all I've got for today y'all.  Until next time,


Saturday, November 22, 2014

What's in a name?

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;

And for that name, which is no part of thee,

Take all myself.

  Rom.        I take thee at thy word.

Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptiz’d;
Henceforth I never will be...

These words penned by Master Shakespeare are resonant with me today.  I have been thinking very hard about what I want my art to be and where I want it to take me.

Do I want my art to be a hobby or do I actually want to make it my career?  Should I sell my art or just keep everything?  Do I want to free myself from the grind of a "day job" and instead throw myself into the grind of a job that is not a job, but a passion?

Pretty heavy thoughts.  All necessary, but the kind that require deep meditation and soul searching.

Part of identifying myself as an artist is the name by which I brand myself.  I dropped my maiden name a long time ago because hardly anyone can spell it and fewer can pronounce it.  While that makes it absolutely unique (and I am the only person in the entire world with that name), it doesn't travel particularly well.  My married name is a different story.  It is not unique at all but not one I identify with as my life-long identity.  I was me a long time before I was married (not to mention, that my mother-in-law shares both my first and last names.  Only our middle names are different.  And I can't begin to tell you what sort of nightmare that has been!)

So what name?  I've always loved the combination of my first and middle names.  It's not unique (everyone's heard "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree"), but it is me.  Due to the non-uniqueness of "Brenda Lee" I've knew that I would have to "create" under a studio name.

The only problem is coming up with that name itself.

I've tried a few different incarnations over the years and they just haven't fit well.  I've tried and kept a few for various lengths of time and have either been stifled or lost by them.  But I had a dream the other night; this was the only dream I can remember having and it was very detailed and very long. 

In this dream, I stood at an easel with a very large canvas.  I was not in my body, but rather watching myself paint.  I watched each brushstroke, each loving mark as it found its rightful place.  Not a mistake or stray line was produced by this dream me.  I watched as the color built up and began to take shape.  Layer after layer, I could see the soul and heart within this painting.  It was an owl.  Not just any owl, but a gypsy.  As I leaned in to view the remarkable eyes of this painted owl, she winked at me and gestured to her crystal ball.  Within the crystal I saw myself, very much like an M.C. Escher painting... repeated as I had first seen myself at the easel.  Each "me" was reflected again and again.  I stepped back and asked the me who had been painting who the owl was.  And I (the me that had been painting) replied "she's the you you will be."

There the dream ended.

I am not the kind of person who dismisses a long, detailed, and colorful dream.  All dreams have meaning, but the ones you can recall in each minute detail days later have more meaning than most.

I must follow where that dream leads me and today, it has led me to "re-invent" myself into the Me I Will Become.  This change comes first with a name change.  I will still paint and sign all of my work under my own legal name (Brenda Lee), but my business will from now own be called The Gypsy Owl Art Co.  I hope you will all follow me to my new blog address and updated/renamed social media.

Thank you all for supporting me, my art, and journey through this wonderful life.

I hope to see you all soon!

With love,

brenda lee

Friday, November 21, 2014

Some More Gelli Printed Artist Trading Cards

It's a Gelli Print kind of week.  I've been very busy and I am absolutely in love with my Gelli Plate®!

Again, I'm using an 8x10" gelli print that I've cut into ATC backgrounds.

This time, I used only 3 stamps and Jet Black Archival Ink by Ranger.

The stamps used are: Dylusions - Clearly Borders, Tim Holtz Clear Stamps - Life's Possibilities, and the feather is from Unity Stamp Co.'s November SMAK kit.  Very simple, but I wanted to preserve the background while still making something that would make people smile.

That's all I've got for today.  Until next time,


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Circles, Splatters, and Black - Oh My! - Artist Trading Cards

I'm using another of my gelli prints to create more ATCs today!

For my Facebook ATC Group, the theme is Three Circles, Splatters, and Black.

I had a very bright gelli print that I made with yellow, orange, and neon pink that I knew would be a perfect background for something black.

Using Dylusions Stamps - Birds on a Wire, I stamped two birds and a funny hat in Jet Black Archival Ink.  I then used a Sharpie Oil Based Paint Marker to draw circles and spirals.  I stamped the word "Laugh" from the "Word Love" stamp set by Dylusions.  Weilding my trusty Pentel Sunburst White Gel Pen (I'm going to really cry when that pen runs out), I added some white details.

To make my splatters, I dipped a small paintbrush into Mustard Seed Distress Paint and gave it several good taps.

These cards were very easy to make, but I can't help smiling at those funny crows in their silly hats!

I am really enjoying using my gelli prints for these simple cards.  I feel like the hard part (the background) is already done and I don't need to do much to it!  Just a few simple things and voila!  A whole series of atcs!

I definitely want to do a large journal page or even a canvas like this.  I can see so much more potential.

Until next time,


Monday, November 17, 2014

Gelli Print Artist Trading Cards

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. 
                                                                       - Matsuo Basho

Today I want to share some ATCs I made just for fun.  Not for a swap or a trade, but just because I wanted to!

I used an 8x10" Gelli Print I had made as my base and cut 8 ATC "blanks".  There was a lot going on with this bold background so I wanted something that would add rather than detract from the background itself.

I used Dylusions Stamps - Right Up Your Street and stamped the houses in Jet Black Ranger Archival Ink.  

I needed something that would make the houses pop and so used a Pentel Sunburst White Gel Pen (which is the best white pen I've ever used and unfortunately is no longer in production!!!) to messily scribble outlines and shingles.

I added the word "journey" from the Dylusions Stamp set, Word Love, in Jet Black ink and scribbled with my white pen again.  Something was still missing, so I used a small bird paper punch on old book pages.

To color the birds, I spread Distress Ink in Picked Raspberry, Spiced Marmalade, and Mustard Seed on my craft mat, spritzed with water and laid the birds in the ink.  I dried each bird with my heat tool and then glued them to the ATCs.  I scribbled around the birds with my white pen, swiped around the edges with Colorbox Black Archival Ink (heat set) and called them done!

No matter how bright or crazy your gelli prints or backgrounds get, you can always use black and white for a fabulous effect!

I'm off to make more gelli prints y'all!


Friday, November 14, 2014

Gelli Plate Printing

So I finally got a Gelli Plate!  I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this thing!  Sorry for the poor lighting in HTE pics, but this was one of those middle-of-the-night-just-can't-stand-it-I-gotta-create-something things.  Y'all know what I'm talking about, right?

I used a variety of stencils, bubble wrap, and tons of different craft acrylic paint.  I printed mostly on some 4" x 6" white card stock, although I did one printing on watercolor paper.

My Gelli Plate is 8" by 10".  Which is a pretty good size.  I can actually cut the full sized prints into about 8 ATCs.  I have plans to cut the 4x6" papers into shapes or something as embellishments, but right now they're just hanging about in my scrap box.  Except for the big purple and white print (last picture).  I turned that one into a birthday card for my Mom.

I have plans eventually to purchase the 3" x 5" gelli plate to do some specifically ATC sized prints.  Just 'cause.

Next time I pull that ol' gelli plate out, I'll take some better pics and more of the process.  If you haven't gotten yourself a Gelli Plate yet, you are wasting precious time.  This thing is FABULOUS!  (and no, Gelli Arts did not pay me to say that... however, if they wanted to send me the little gelli plate as a token of their appreciation, I wouldn't say no!  ;-) )

Now, go get y'all a gelli plate and go create something amazing!!

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