Creative Jumpstart 2021

Creative Jumpstart 2021
Join me for the 10th Anniversary of CJS2021

Monday, July 30

Capturing Beauty

I think you probably know by now that I love flowers -- real and imagined. I lot of the art I create is inspired by flowers I see along my travels and in my garden. Up until last year I never picked them -- but left them in the garden for everyone to enjoy outside.

And something happened -- I'm not quite sure what -- and I decided to start bringing them to enjoy ALL day everyday. Now I'm taking pictures of them inside AND outside so I can remember the colors and enjoy the beauty LONG after they are gone.

 Today I thought I'd share a little about how I compose my photos -- when my backdrop and backgrounds are not large enough to hide what is going on behind the scenes.

Here you can see what my composition -- or still life -- looks like before I start shooting. I'm using the backdrop I created from a window shade and a piece of bead-board paneling left over from my studio remodel. Kind of ugly, don't you think?

 Look what happens when I zoom in using my iPhone and the Hipstamatic App. The colors pop. The background disappesrs -- and it's beautiful. You could achieve the same look by cropping the original photo and adding fun filters in Adobe Photoshop if you wanted.

Here's another view -- this time I added a beautiful vintage tablecloth to the counter. I love the folds and embroidery on it. Again, it looks pretty ugly with the background elements in the picture.

But -- look what happens when I zoom in. Beautiful light, bright flowers and the horizontal folds in the tablecloth really accentuate the vertical design of the purple liatris (or gayfeather). 

I really love this one with the vertical lines of the bead board paneling adding interest on the bottom right.
 And this one is a lovely close-up of little black-eyed Susie -- or Rudbeckia and some tiny details of the table cloth at the bottom left.

As you go about your daily grind -- capturing beauty with your camera or phone -- get creative with your cropping, backdrops and get CLOSER to your subject so you can really focus on them. Look at creating interest with vertical and horizontal lines -- and make sure you've got ENOUGH light so your subjects look bright and beautiful! And -- don't be afraid to take too many photos -- for this session I think I snapped 100 or more shots. It's easy to delete the ones that come out blurry or you don't like them but once the moment is gone -- it's gone!

THANKS for stopping by, have a GREAT and WONDERFUL week! 

Friday, July 27

there is beauty everywhere OR Copic Multiliner Rocks!

I've been on a quest to find the perfect pen for art journaling for months. Literally.

When I was at the Craft and Hobby Association meeting last week I was on a mission to try ALL the pens either coming to market or already available. While you might think that would be a daunting mission, it wasn't. Mostly because I found my dream PEN at the first stop. This isn't a new pen -- but I'm in love with it anyway. Oh Copic Multiliner where have you been all my life? 

One of the things that I noticed right away is the tip is rounded on the edges instead of square like other pens are. Being a leftie -- and taking into consideration that I hold my pen in a wonky way (most people say how can you write that way, but whatever --lol) this rounded tip really rocked for me. There are other features that I liked, but let me show you how I used it in my art journal last night so you can see exactly why I want to buy more of these in different tip sizes.
When I add lettering and quotes to my pages I always use a pencil to rough in the words - this helps me work out placement, spacing and size. For me it's really important that the lettering look as nice as the art -- I follow these practices when I scrapbook too!
My Illustration Professor says NO to pencil -- I say YES bring it on.
When I'm happy with the pencil draft I use a platinum Brushables from Zig to trace over the pencil lines. I'm not precise at this point, often times I make little adjustments as I work along.
Then I go in with the black pen to trace the pencil lines.
A double line on curves and places here and there adds interest, and I like my pages to be interesting.
When I'm done, I go back in with a darker Platinum Brushable and make the shadow on one side of the lettering a bit darker -- this creates depth and makes my lettering look a little raised off the page. I love this technique (which I learned from Heidi Swapp in one of the books she wrote with Autumn Leaves YEARS ago) and it really accents anything you create.
I also use the Copic MultiLiner to go over the pencil lines in my painting to accentuate the lines and enhance the details, it really makes things pop right off the page.
Other things I like about the MultiLiner are not as obvious as the rounded tip -- but are definite selling points. The first -- the tips are REPLACEABLE on some. Yes. So when you gunk up your tip with gel medium or gesso -- which I do ALL the time -- and your pen is full of ink you can replace it and use up the rest of that delicious ink. The second -- the ink barrel is replaceable. Yes -- that gorgeous metal barrel that you love so much will last FOREVER because you can add new ink cartridges to it.
And the last reason I love this pen so much -- it's a silly reason -- but I like the way the cap clicks on when you press it onto the barrel. A nice, sturdy, manly click. Great for people with nervous ticks, ha ha - not that I have nervous ticks but you get the picture.  The pen feels great in my hand, perfectly weighted and doesn't hurt my fingers to use it for a long time.

There is another reason that I love this pen. It's not silly, but sweet. As I was gushing about how much I loved the MultiLiner to my friend Martha while we were looking around the Copic Booth and how perfect it was for me as a leftie -- I thanked the gentleman that was giving me the information -- asked him if they were available to purchase in sets or individually -- and gave him back the pen -- thanked him again and started to walk away -- he touched my arm and said you can take it with you if you like. Yes, it's the little things that mean a lot. Yes, I was in Pen Heaven and couldn't wait to use it in my art journal!

I did not expect that little bit of generosity as the pens are almost $10.00 each -- so it made me pretty happy -- I am definitely going to save up my pennies and get a nice set of these -- but for now the 0.3 Tip will have to make me happy!

Thanks for stopping by -- hope you have a GREAT weekend. It's a nice, rainy day here and my garden is getting a drink that it's really needed.

Thursday, July 26

the Magic of Christmas REALLY was Magical!

Now that my latest new class over at My Creative Classroom is over -- the Magic of Christmas: A Primer for Interactive Cards I thought I would share a little sneak into the cards I taught for this 10 Day Boot Camp Style class. For 10 consecutive days (excluding weekend days)  I presented a Video and How-to PDF with some Free Clip Art on how I created the interactive card for that day.

The lesson was more than how to make just the interactive part -- it included lots of of crafting and card-making tips I've learned through-out the years. I had SO much fun teaching this workshop -- and I think my students enjoyed the daily lesson. Here's a quick overview, in case you might have missed it this go around -- I know this course will be offered again at the Holidays so you can catch it later -- it was pretty popular at MCC and I had a TON of students enrolled!

Day 1: Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Day 2: Celebrate the Season

Day 3: 'Tis the Season

Day 4: For You 

Day 5: From Our House to Yours

Day 6: 'Tis the Season

Day 7: Let it Snow

Day 8: Naughty or Nice?

Day 9: Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Day 10: Season's Greetings

As you can see, each lesson was a masterpiece in layering and interactivity (well you can't see that on all of them -- that part is a surprise ;-) -- I can't show you everything) and I think you will be surprised and pleased with the content in this course! So, I hope to see you in the fall at My Creative Classroom!

Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a GREAT Thursday!

Technical Difficulties!

Not sure what happened but I deleted the CHA Heidi Swapp Booth post by mistake while "testing" to see why my email posts weren't showing up.

Hoping I didn't really delete it and it and it shows back up...

Monday, July 23

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

I've been quiet, and for those of you that check in with me often I am sorry. I've had things on my heart and mind that needed deciding. Hard decisions with lots of things that needed to be weighed -- discussed - waffled -- brought out -- put away and mulled over. And I am back, with an open heart and ready for all the possibilities.

I finally made a tough decision that I have been agonizing over for quite some time. What made it so tough is I love what I do and the people I do it for -- and waffling because I have nothing to fall back on. What if this that or the other thing happens. What if no one likes me. Just ask my friends about the self-doubt and insecurities I've had over this -- it's been hard.

I've never been good at making decisions  -- but this one was especially hard for me. The only decision that is easy for me is the one I make to change my hairstyle, ha ha. Not only am I a very loyal person, I am (for the most part) a rule follower and put my heart into everything I do and creating pretty things makes me happy. I get to create and get paid for it. Not only has it been the perfect situation -- it's made me happy when other things in my life have been tough.
I know, I'm keeping you on the edge of your seat ;-) so here goes. You may --  but mostly people don't -- know that for the last 9 years I have been an exclusive designer for EK Success Brands. My first assignment for them was for Winter CHA 2004 where I created 10 or maybe it was 12 scrapbook pages in a really short time.. Which I did and was totally over the moon about them -- and when I saw pictures of them in their booth I was even more excited. The first time I demo'd at CHA I ended up coming home with a book contract to write a book about Sewing on Paper and had met some really talented and wonderful people at the company and at the show. I've traveled a fair bit for them each year, written articles and blog posts -- and created awesome projects that you can see in AC Moore, JoAnn Fabric, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, on HSN and probably more -- yes it has been exciting.

I've seen many people come and go at the company -- and while you may think I am crazy to give up my day job with nothing to fall back on -- know that I've got lots of faith that good things are happening. I am a great designer, a devoted employee and hard worker. It feels right. Like really really TOTALLY right. Like I'm not gonna loose sleep over moving on -- well, I might.  I am a tad nervous about resigning and going out into the wild blue yonder -- I am excited beyond measure for what is coming next, I don't know what that is yet. But I'm open. To ALL the possibilities.

Being an Exclusive Designer for EK Success has been an awesome ride - and it has primed me for everything else in this industry that is wonderful and possible. I have learned how to write great instructions, take awesome product photos, create projects, make how-to videos and presentations, demo a product I have never seen 10 minutes after seeing it  --  and have created countless projects over the years. I wish I had kept track of all the scrapbook pages, home decor items and other things I have created. Wow, lots. tons. Yeah, no I'm not crazy -- but you might think I am for saying farewell.

So, please join me in a HUGE round of applause as I THANK you EK SUCCESS Brands -- for everything you have done to help me become a better designer. I will miss you all and hope to run into you here and there in my travels! 

Sunday, July 15

Boink. Boink. Boink -- Time to Meet Mother

It's that time of the month again -- time to share our stories of the adventures of the Whatevers. Since I have so much extra time on my hands (ha ha) I thought I would make this a true story-telling experience and read my story to you.

I hope you like it!

Time to Meet Mother from Catherine Scanlon on Vimeo.

And, to go along with that -- here are the images I used in my little video, and some fun facts. 

Cordelia Marie really is my Grandmother's name.  Except that she is French so on her birth certificate it reads Marie Cordelia -- it's a Catholic thing I think. My mother's is the same.

I love watercolor paints, I guess that you probably already knew that though. 
I recorded the Voice Memo to add to my story 7 times because I kept messing up at the little red-headed handful part -- and then I would laugh and have to start over. And then would mess up at right after I said Eldridge. ha.
I really love wild birds, in case you couldn't tell. But we had pet birds once and I hated them. They were messy and loud and cleaning the cage grossed me out.
I am a creature of habit and find I use the same colors all the time. I recently bought some purple toe nail polish to get out of my color rut, it looks just like Claudine Hellmuth's Purple paint, which I do love but hardly ever use.
Mother's eyes came out of a magazine -- and they are from the same person. On the front cover of the mag she was in color and the article she was in black and white. It made me laugh to see how funny Mother looks with her wonky eyes and curly hair. My Grandmother Cordelia did NOT have wonky eyes or curly hair.

I am really LOVING this Creative Storytelling project -- and can't wait to share NEXT month with you. But in the meantime, if you want to share your Whatever story with us, click on the Linky at the top of my blog and enter. Please only share projects that are related to the Whatevers. Also, you can share your art in our Flickr Group and Facebook Page. 

If I've held your attention this long, check out what Nat and Vicki have created and links for Facebook and Flickr: 
Here's a quick re-cap of our commitment to the Whatevers:
  • Vicki, Nat and I have made a one-year commitment to each other and picked twelve photos with Whatevers whom we will give a story.
  • Every month – if possible always on the 15th – each of us will do a post with an individual story that goes along for us with the same photo.
  • If you want you can play along and we will have the photo for you – just right click on it to safe it to download and show us your version of The Whatevers.
  • There are no rules to the story itself- it can be funny, sad, uplifting, breathtaking- WHATEVER
  • There are no rules on the length or the form of the story- it can be a short sentence, an essay, a poem or a soap opera – WHATEVER
  • There are no rules on the artform you choose – it can be a scrapbook layout, an altered art project, an art journal page – WHATEVER
  • Here is a rule though: if you take the photo you have to link back to us and show us your story.
  • These pictures are from our personal stash and are for personal use for you only! If you want to use them for a publication whether a book or magazine in print or digital form please ask for permission!
  • If you want to participate we’ll have a linky list for each Whatever Post,  but your link must be about the Whatevers story you have created.
  • You can also join our The Whatevers -Facebook Page 

Saturday, July 14

Oh, Whatever

New photo tomorrow -- time get your Whatevers on! 
Have a GREAT Saturday!

Thursday, July 12

The Whatevers #2 -- coming soon!

I've got my July Whatever's page complete -- and I am very ANXIOUS to share it with you -- but today is not the day, lol. Every time I go back and read my story for each month I can't stop giggling -- and I think you will too. Just a few more days and Nat. Vic and I will have our stories and projects ready to share PLUS a new image for you to download and get busy creating a work of art with. 

THAT is all for today -- haircut and lots of other things to get done. Have a GREAT Thursday. Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, July 11

PSA #8: Magic of Christmas -- a Primer for Interactive Cards starts Friday the 13th!

Just popping in to remind you stragglers that my newest class, Magic of Christmas over at My Creative Classroom is starting this Friday. There's still room if you want to join us -- but hurry before space runs out. This is a boot camp style class, 10 lessons in 2 weeks -- crammed full of useful crafting information as WELL as 10 COOL interactive card lessons!

Now, I've got to get back to work! Thanks for stopping by -- have a great Wednesday!!

Tuesday, July 10

My Babies Flew the Coupe

This is the second year we have had the opportunity -- and a sweet one it was -- to watch a MaMa Robin build her nest on our back porch. I loved seeing her daily attention to her nest, and then hear her squawk at us as we went out on the deck to enjoy the pool, work in the garden or just use the back door. She was pretty protective of them from the moment she laid her eggs until the moment they all flew away!
 She took great care of her babies, and her mate helped her feed them daily. One of the 4 babies fell out of the nest on a cold rainy day and I called the Bird Center for help on how to save it without turning the MaMa off. (FYI -- they said to put on Latex Gloves and gently place the baby back in the nest so she wouldn't smell me on her baby, it worked.) She raised all 4 babies bringing bugs and worms to them all day long. 
It was nerve wracking though. I'm such a MaMa myself that I couldn't stop worrying when it was dark and she didn't come back, and then I worried that the neighbor cat would raid the nest -- and then I worried they would fly off the deck and straight into the pool. urgh. to much worrying.
I'm happy to report that all four babies have flown the coupe over the weekend -- and I hear and see them every couple of hours digging up worms on the lawn.
 This little guy, though. He was the last to leave. He sat up in the nest all afternoon -- looking scared and calling to his MaMa. I kept talking to him and encouraging him to join his family -- but he was pretty nervous. At first I thought he was the one that fell out of the nest and couldn't fly. He eventually did -- but we had to help him a little because he oriented himself so the only way out was straight into the pool. 
In the melee of getting him from the deck to the grass he (or she) ended up taking a little 10 minute break sitting right on my arm. It was sweet and oh so rewarding. But -- as much as I enjoyed having them here to enjoy watching them grow for 2 years in a row -- I'm relieved I don't have to worry about them anymore. 

That's all for today -- deadlines, assignments, travel plans and an unexpected trip to the Dentist are on my agenda for today. Thanks for stopping by -- hope you have a wonderful TUESDAY! 

Monday, July 9

Sweetest Boys

 Last week my husband and son went camping up to the place in Maine where my husband works. It's a glorious place -- with lots of woodland  creatures, streams, dirt roads, trails to explore.....
And treasure to find.
 oh, and did I mention wild flowers to pick?

I had a lot of work to catch up on so I only spent Wednesday and Thursday with them. It was a long almost 3 hour drive -- and I was tired from staying up late and getting up early. When I arrived at the campsite (exhausted and ready for a nap I might add) on Wednesday morning I found my sweetest boy standing near a table filled with old bottles.
And each old bottle was filled with a different wild flower.
What a treat -- and boy does he know the way to his Mama's heart.
While we sat around the fire I dug out my sketch book -- two of them actually -- this is from my Art Journal Sketch Book - and drew all of the pretty flowers. Since I"m trying hard to break the pencil habit I used a new Close to my Heart Grey Marker. Which -- is perfect the substitute for a pencil.  Almost like working with a pencil -- only you can't erase.
I had a little bit of time over the weekend so I added some color with my Koi watercolors. I just love the way this turned out. And really, it is so much more than a sketch to me since my sweet boy was so thoughtful. Every time I see this group of sketches and photos I'll remember how sweet and thoughtful he is -- and he's only 12.
Oh, and my husband cleaned the outhouse for me. That was just as thoughtful since it apparently was disgusting before I arrived, LoL!
Thanks guys, you sure do know how to make a gal feel special!
That's all for today -- have a great day and thanks for stopping by!