Photo Manipulation Tutorial: A Postcard Home by Adryane Driscoll

January 27th, 2015

Adryane Driscoll Photo

Crafting comes in many different shapes and forms. From paint to paper cut-outs, and ink sprays to fabric alterations — for us creative types, there’s an abundance of outlets for self-expression. Relatively new but no less inspiring, is the world of photo manipulations and digital artwork. Scanning and editing has become a new take on cutting and pasting, and we love it! That’s why we’re very proud and happy to introduce today’s guest artist, Adryane Driscoll.

Adryane was featured in the spring 2013 and 2014 issues of Somerset Digital Studio, and she will also be making an appearance in the upcoming spring 2015 issue of the same title. Her artful handling of old, family photographs and memorabilia has also earned her a place in the autumn 2011 and spring 2012 issues of Somerset Memories. Her work is beautifully colored and always very well composed, and today she’s agreed to share with us an exclusive project that showcases some of her tips and techniques. So grab your box of old family photos, fire up PhotoShop, and please join me in giving Adryane Driscoll a warm Somerset Place welcome.

 

~*~

I inherited a box with hundreds of old photos from my grandmother.  I can place some of the faces and guess at others, but most of the people in the photos are unknown to me. I knew about this box of photos before my grandmother died, and I tried to get her to revisit them with me and tell me about them. However, she found the experience to be too painful as many of the people in the photos had disappeared during World War II.

When the photos became mine, my goal was to find a way to organize the images and give stories to the people in them.  So, even though I can’t put names to many of the faces, and I am not sure how I am related to many of the people, I try to find ways to connect with them.  When considering how to do this I often look for something familiar either in a face or the background — a point of reference to create a story that I think fits with the photo. In A Postcard Home, the couple reminded me of how my grandparents looked in their travel photos, and the wonderful postcards they would send while away.

 

A Postcard Home by Adryane Driscoll Project Materials:

All of my images are scanned then manipulated in Adobe Photoshop CS6.

-Anna Aspnes Designs
-ArtPlay Palette for the Record
-ArtPlay Palette Home
-ArtPlay Palette Winter Sunrise
-FotoGlows No. 2
-Cloud Brushes No. 2
-MultiMedia Documents No. 1
-Layered FotoBlendz No. 3
-Decor Stamps No. 1
-GoldPaint No. 3
-GoldPaint No. 4

A Postcard Home by Adryane Driscoll Project Instructions:

Step 1: Choose a Photo
I chose a photo with a nice focal image and a background that is not in focus. The faded background allows for easy blending into the composition I want to create for this couple. When working with old photos, I usually start with a neutral background. This allows me to focus on the image. After I finish with the image, I can stay with the neutral background or build on it.

Adryane Driscoll Tutorial Step 1

Step 2: Decide on a Design Concept
Consider what type of story you want to tell about your photo and how you want to tell it. For A Postcard Home, I decided on a travel story and started with a centered design with movement across the page from left to right. Often, the design changes as I start to play with the image but it’s nice to have a general starting point.

Adryane Driscoll Tutorial Step 2Step 3: Mask the Photo

You can create a custom Layer Mask for your photo or use one that you have in your digital supplies/archives. I chose an image that was divided into two parts — a light area and a dark area. The photo is positioned above the mask layer and then clipped (ALT+CTRL + G on a pc or CMD + G on a Mac, or, with the photo layer selected, go to Layer and choose Create Clipping Mask) to the mask. I repositioned the photo so that it was over the lighter area in the mask. Then, I applied a Layer Mask to the photo layer so that I could erase the tree from the photo with a soft round brush.

Adryane Driscoll Tutorial Step 3

Step 4: Add to the Masked Image to Create Depth
I added multiple layers, using various digital elements, both over and under the masked image to create depth. I wanted to keep the people and the left side of the page lighter than the right side of the page. To do this, I set the blending mode on many of the layers on the right to either Linear Burn or Multiply, while the layers on the left tend to be set to Overlay or Soft Light. I also added some text to the background under the image on a separate layer.

Adryane Driscoll Tutorial Step 4

Step 5: Add Dimension
I don’t work with a lot of elements, but I do like my pages to have some dimension. Here, I added a large frame behind the image. A Layer Mask was added to the frame so that I could blend out parts of the frame. I also added shadows around the image and under the main mask. Next, I added the clouds, birds, and the text from the back of the photo. Whenever I find writing on an old photo, I try to incorporate it into my design. It may be the only information I have about a particular image.

Adryane Driscoll Finished Project

Step 6: Consider the Background
At some point, I consider whether I want to keep the background plain or I want to add to it. Here, I decided to warm up the background and add a little texture. To do this, two digital papers were blended over the original, neutral background. Both of the additional papers were set to Linear Burn.

 

Step 7: Finish
To finish, I added some additional brushstrokes.

~*~

My personal experience with PhotoShop does not extend far beyond cropping, resizing, and enhancing images — all of which are pretty elementary skills. Even so, for me, these techniques were difficult to get a handle on. This step-by-step tutorial removes some of the intimidation that comes with working with Photoshop. I don’t expect that my first project will look anything like Adryane’s, but having her detailed tutorial will make it easier to acquire the skills.

If you’re an avid PhotoShop user we hope this tutorial inspires you to try something new, and if you haven’t taken the plunge into photo manipulations and digital artwork, then we hope the project might make the waters look a little more inviting. Finally, please help me give Adryane Driscoll sincere and heartfelt thanks for sharing her beautiful project with us.

To see more of Adryane’s beautiful artwork, you can visit her gallery at Oscraps.com

 

Exclusive Offer: $5 off Digital Inspiration

Digital Inspiration If your muse has been roused by Adryane Driscoll’s stunning photo manipulation, then you’re going to love the artwork that’s featured in Digital Inspiration. This special book-azine showcases the best of the best in photo manipulations and digitally-altered artwork, as collected from past issues of Somerset Digital Studio. Don’t miss your chance to save $5 off this beautiful magazine.

Enter coupon code BDI0115 when prompted at checkout to save $5 on Digital Inspiration

 
 




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Gabriela Digital InspirationGuest ArtistHow-To ,,,,,,,,,,

Crafting comes in many different shapes and forms. From paint to paper cut-outs, and ink sprays to fabric alterations — for us creative types, there’s an abundance of outlets for self-expression. Relatively new but no less inspiring, is the world of photo manipulations and digital artwork. Scanning and editing has become a new take on […]

Mixed-Media Stencil Techniques by Traci Bautista

January 22nd, 2015

Traci Bautista Collection



As someone who is pretty new to the world of stenciling, I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the process. It seems like it’s would be easy for paint or ink to bleed through and ruin the image that’s being created — but that’s just the perfectionist in me talking. After watching this video by Traci Bautista, where she breaks down 6 unique techniques for working with stencils, I was definitely ready to give it a try. What’s helpful about this video is seeing the ease with which Traci works with colors, and how she transitions between using a stencil and then flipping it over and using the excess paint and ink to create a mask. She plays with positive and negative spaces with a lot of freedom, and her particular style has a lot to offer both novice and experienced stencil enthusiasts.

~*~

Techniques Featured in this Video:

Black Gesso Prints - A little black gesso goes a long way when used with Traci’s Floral 2 Stencil. This technique is a fabulous way to showcase the bright and vibrant colors of a background by introducing black outlines.

Dyed Paper Towel Prints - Create beautifully textured prints with generous amounts of acrylic paint, a two-ply paper towel, and a brayer.

Stencil Prints - With this technique, you can create a stunning layered print by stenciling with paint, spraying with ink, and then pressing a fresh piece of paper onto the design. The end result is gorgeous multi-colored print.

White Resist Prints - After creating a colorful stenciled background, Traci uses acrylic paint and a foam brayer to add portions of white. She does this while her first layer of paint is still wet, which allows the colors to mix.

Monoprint Acrylic Skins - Paint over a transparent document protector and then set your stencil down on the wet paint. Once the paint dries, you can remove the stencil and you’ll be left with a beautiful skin that showcases the details of your stencil.

Stamping + Masking with Stencils - Spray a little water over a stencil design to reactive the dried paint, and then press a fresh piece of paper over it to create a ghost print.  You can also paint or spray directly onto a stencil and use another piece of paper to pick up the extra paint that’s on the top of the stencil.

~*~

Thank you Traci for such an amazing video! To pick up even more inspiring tutorials and projects from this talented artist, be sure to stop by our brand-new Artist Collection. Find everything from Traci’s books to her creative stencil designs, and unique stamps.

Traci Bautista is a mixed media artist, designer, teacher, and author of the bestselling book, “Doodles Unleashed,” and her recent release, “Printmaking Unleashed.” Her art has been featured in over 15 art and mixed-media books and 40 craft magazines, including Somerset Studio, Altered Couture, Where Women Create, Art Journaling, Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, and Somerset Digital Studio.

To learn about this extraordinary artist visit her on her blog, Creativity Unleashed.

 

Can’t Get Enough of Traci Bautista?

Drop by our exclusive Traci Bautista Collection to find her stamps, stencils, books, and products!
 


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Gabriela How-To ,,,,,,,

As someone who is pretty new to the world of stenciling, I have to admit that I was a bit intimidated by the process. It seems like it’s would be easy for paint or ink to bleed through and ruin the image that’s being created — but that’s just the perfectionist in me talking. After […]

Love Jars: A Valentine’s Day Project

January 19th, 2015

Love Jards



It’s easy to make a unique and personalized Valentine’s Day gift when you’re inspired, even if you’re short on time. To make these love jars, you just need a bit washi tape and some chalk journal note cards by Prima Marketing. Using chalk or a white pen, you can then write a short and endearing message to your valentine that’s sure to make your special-someone feel extra special. Fill up the spice jars with a yummy treat, and voilà — you’ll have darling set of valentines to give to a dear friend or a beloved partner.

 

Love Jars Project Materials:

-Prima Marketing Every Day Vintage – Chalk Journal Note Cards One
-Washi Tape – Geometric Fins Black
-Washi Tape – Musical Notes
-Washi Tape Solid Black
-Scissors
-Ranger Ink Dina Wakley Media Gel Medium
-Round Black Lid Spice Jars – Set of 3
-Faber-Castell Mix & Match Stamper’s Big Brush Pen White

 

Love Jars



Love Jars Project Tutorial

Step 1 - Start by washing out your spice jars. We noticed there was a little dust in ours, so we cleaned them out — especially since food was going inside.

Step 2 - Once your jars are clean and dry, select two washi tapes to use. We wanted a unique and unexpected color palette, so we used a solid black washi tape with a set of complimentary black-and-white patterned tapes.

Step 3 - The Prime Marketing chalk journal note cards are a little too big for the jars, so we had to cut ours down to fit properly. The note cards are really elaborate, and they have a great vintage feel to them! It’s easy to select a portion and cut out a label without losing too many of the details. Remember to save your scraps of paper, these bits and pieces are great for mixed-media projects.

Step 4 - Next, brush some gel medium along the back of your labels and securely adhere them to your jars. We used a little washi tape to make sure the label was pressed flat against the jar until the gel medium dried. When the label is securely glued to the jar, pull your extra washi tape off gently to avoid ripping the label.

Step 5 - Use chalk or a white pen to write a sweet message on your label. You can personalize each love jar with a name or a special message. If you use chalk, you can easily erase the message and write something new. If you want something permanent, use a white pen.

Step 6 - Fill your love jars with a sweet treat. To pull in the normal Valentine’s Day colors, we decided to use some pink, white, and red M&M’s, but you can use whatever you like and whatever fits.

 

Love Jars



Everything You Need to Create Unique Valentines

Valentine's Day Collection We’ve gathered our favorite love-themed products, including romantic papers, delightful embellishments, and much more, to help you get a jump on all your Valentine’s Day projects. We’ve also selected more than 30 projects from The Studio, including decorations, handmade cards, gift boxes, and even wearable items, so you can share sweet sentiments with everyone you love.

Click here to visit our Valentine’s Day Collection.
 
 
 


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Gabriela DIYHolidaysHow-ToProject of the Week ,,,,,,,

It’s easy to make a unique and personalized Valentine’s Day gift when you’re inspired, even if you’re short on time. To make these love jars, you just need a bit washi tape and some chalk journal note cards by Prima Marketing. Using chalk or a white pen, you can then write a short and endearing […]

Hearts of a Different Color Challenge Results + Giveaway

January 15th, 2015

grid_template



I love pink — in all hues and in any shape, but even I get burnt out on the sea of red, white, and pink that takes over stores first thing in January. As soon as the New Year arrives, chocolate hearts wrapped in pink-foil and silk roses all start to fill the aisles. And who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? I have fond memories of trading valentines when I was in elementary school, and of sharing good meals with great friends now that I am adult. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers!

However, this special day does feel like one of the more repressive holidays. While pink and white are appropriate colors for sure, most stores seem unable or perhaps unwilling to step beyond that color palette. That’s probably why I enjoyed the results of our Hearts of a Different Color Challenge, which is currently being featured in the winter 2015 issue of The Stampers’ Sampler. Editor Devon Warren challenged readers to create Valentine’s Day cards that utilize unique and unexpected colors and elements. There was such a huge outpouring of creativity that we now have over 20 pages showcasing the stunning results.

I wish I could show you every single card that was included in the challenge, but we don’t have enough space. So instead, I flipped through the pages and built a mini rainbow collection of Valentine’s Day cards. Hopefully these images will inspire you to venture out of your comfort zone, but if you’re just a die-hard fan of pink, white, and red, then at the very least these creative cards will definitely help you bring some new elements into your own creations. Check out the newest issue in person to see all the challenge results and for details on how to replicate the looks.

Also, don’t forget to pin your favorite for a chance to win one of three free copies of The Stampers’ Sampler. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post for details on how to participate in our giveaway!

 

Hearts of a Different Color

Hearts of a Different Color - Red



Grace by Marge McGuire

This red and purple card features corrugated cardstock, a stamp with the definition of the word heart, and the interesting use of beads and brass wire.

Hearts of a Different Color - Orange



Be My Valentine by Kim Sears

The layered look of this card was achieved with cut out cardstock, stencils, stamps, and a tiny ribbon. The heart stamp itself almost resembles a Fabergé egg!

Hearts of a Different Color - Yellow



Love Garden by Shari Frost-Job

This garden of love was created with mulberry paper, heart stamps, and a cleverly attached green brad. The washi tape embellishment across the bottom is a nice touch, and the distressing on the mulberry paper adds depth to the background.

Hearts of a Different Color - Green



You Make Me Happy by Sharon Bruner

This card looks like a mini-collage! With multiple layers of paper and images, and even some sewing elements, there’s a lot to look at on this little card, but the message is delivered loud and clear.

Hearts of a Different Color - Blue/Green



Sincere Feelings by Marge McGuire

The peacock colors on this card make it truly stunning. Even with the use of four overlaying hearts, this still feels distinctly unique from the normal run-of-the-mill Valentine’s Day cards. For this card, Marge used some die-cut hearts, heat-embossing, and stamps.

Hearts of a Different Color - Blue



Love Is by Kim Ross

Love is a great many things! This card encompasses so many positive messages in one tiny stamp that all the open, white space really works. The tiny embellishments on the corner are unique and manage to fit with the patterned papers used along the edges of the card.

Hearts of a Different Color - Purple



Passport to Love by Shari Frost-Job

What better way to express your love and appreciation for someone than with music? This card features torn pieces of music sheets, a bit of ribbon, and a lovely heart stamp.

Hearts of a Different Color - Black



Hugs & Kisses by Bobbie Porter

This card is an embossers dream. It features dry-embossed cardstock and a beautiful silver and black heat-embossed heart. While this color palette strays pretty far from the normal pink, white, and read—it’s still a very elegant and romantic card.

 

Your Chance to Win

We’re giving away THREE free copies of The Stampers’ Sampler! For your chance to win simply follow the instructions:

  1. From the images featured above “Pin” your favorite.
  2. Share a link to your newly created pin on the comment section below (get your link by opening your pin and copying the URL).
  3. Tell us why you selected that card.

*Contest is open to US residents only, and expires on January 31st.

 

See all the Results of our Hearts of a Different Color Challenge

1SAM-1501-The Stampers-Sampler-Winter-2015-600x600If you want to see all of the beautiful cards that were featured in our Hearts of a Different Color Challenge then don’t forget to pick up a copy of The Stampers’ Sampler. Also, because you saw it here [On the Blog], you get a special $5 discount on this fabulous January issue.

Use coupon code BLOG0115 when prompted at checkout to get $5 off this magazine.

 
 


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Gabriela ChallengesContestHolidaysThe Stampers' Sampler ,,,,,,,,,

I love pink — in all hues and in any shape, but even I get burnt out on the sea of red, white, and pink that takes over stores first thing in January. As soon as the New Year arrives, chocolate hearts wrapped in pink-foil and silk roses all start to fill the aisles. And […]

Free Article Download: Little Book of Encouragement by Mary Walden

January 12th, 2015

Mary Walden Artwork



“If you don’t have a lot of time at one stretch to work on creating, this is a good project. You can plan one page at a time, sew them later, and assemble them even later. Using 15 minutes here and there can be time well spent. None of us ever has enough time to create!”

~Mary Walden from the pages of Sew Somerset; Click here to read the full article.

Most of us probably don’t have as much time as we would like, probably even less to just sit and be creative. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try! From painting to stamping, to sewing and gluing, we find ways to express ourselves. And while we may try to clear up a few hours a here and there to pursue our artistic passions, Mary Walden’s project is a great way to keep our creativity going throughout our busy days.

This little book of encouragement is made out of bits and pieces of fabric, scraps of paper, and doilies and lace. It’s held together with some basic sewing techniques, and the book itself get’s assembled with binder rings. Each page can be seen as a mini projects, with all of the steps being broken down into 15 minute intervals. Challenge yourself to make your own little book of encouragements throughout a week or a month, and see what you come up with!

Click here to download the free article, “Little Book of Encouragement,” by Mary Walden that originally appeared in the summer 2011 issue of Sew Somerset.

 

Want Even More Inspiration?

1SOM-SEW1102-Sew-Somerset-Summer-2011-300x300This oldie is definitely a goodie! The summer 2011 issue of Sew Somerset features some uniquely stitched shadowboxes and embroidery hoops by Cindy Steiler. You’ll also find an artful cover idea for your iPad inspired by Ruth Rae, plus cool cuffs by Jen Swift.
 
 


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Gabriela Free Article DownloadSew Somerset ,,,,,

“If you don’t have a lot of time at one stretch to work on creating, this is a good project. You can plan one page at a time, sew them later, and assemble them even later. Using 15 minutes here and there can be time well spent. None of us ever has enough time to […]

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project: Stamping Project by Christen Hammons

January 8th, 2015

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project: 3 Cards



You may think the card-giving season is over, but we disagree. There’s always a special occasion to send out a thoughtful, greeting card to a friend or family member, and if there isn’t — then make one up! And don’t forget that now’s the perfect time to send out Thank You cards for all those wonderful gifts and warm wishes that you got over the holidays.

This unique card project by our Editor-in-Chief and Director of Publishing, Christen Hammons, showcases an interesting use of negative space. Even the name of the project is full of inspiration! So grab your cardstock, your stamps, and your favorite inks — and learn how to make a positive out of a negative.

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project Materials:

-Dina Wakley Reversed Grunge Growth Stamp
-Christine Adolph’s Collage Cube
-Card Stock
-Stamping Ink
-Pencil
-Self-Inking 7gypsies Circle Stamp

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project by Christen Hammons

Any avid rubber stamper knows that there are just some stamps you have to have. Sure, you have no idea how you’re going to use them, but they still wind up in your shopping cart. Then they sit on your art table gathering dust.

That’s how it was when I bought this “reverse” stamp by Dina Wakley. All of the other designs from the collection were stamped right away, but there were a couple I didn’t know quite what to do with. After talking with several employees here at Stampington, I realized that both stamps had large areas of negative space. Our President, Kellene Giloff, urged me to find an interesting way to spotlight the negative space.

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project: Honeycomb design

Step 1 - I typically use stamps for texture, so the larger sections of solid color were throwing me off until I began playing around with the stamps. I started by inking the Reversed Grunge Growth stamp; then I pressed the honeycomb stamp from Christine Adolph’s Collage Cube onto the solid section. To get the desired effect, make sure you keep the honeycomb stamp dry, so that it can pull/dilute the ink that’s already on the solid section of the Reserves Grunge Growth stamp.

Step 2 - To finish, I stamped Reversed Grunge Growth onto cardstock. The honeycomb texture added a nice effect, making it appear as if I added my own collaged layer.

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project: Different Color Ink

Step 3 - Next, I inked the Reversed Grunge Growth stamp again, but this time I stamped a self-inking 7gypsies circle stamp randomly onto the solid space. This added a different color and an extra touch of depth to my layers. When I stamped Reversed Grunge Growth, the circles appeared in the negative space, creating a nice, textured look.

Making a Positive Out of a Negative Project: Journaling

Step 4 - Finally, I simply used some of the negative space to journal on.

~*~

Please join me in thanking Christen Hammons for providing us with such a fun project. There really are so many unique ways to use stamps and more so when the stamp itself has such interesting elements. However, the most important lesson I took away from these little cards is that no matter how intimidating a new product or project might be, you should always meet challenges with curiosity and positivity! After all, who knows what wonderful new techniques you can learn or even develop on your own?

 

We Want to Hear From You

In art, it’s always fun and challenging to work with negative space. We want to know how you do it. Do you have your own method for adding a bit of interest to stamps that have large negative spaces or do you try to avoid them altogether?

 

Even More Free Projects

PROJ-0908-200x200Join us in The Studio and find countless ideas for making cards, gifts, jewelry, artful décor, and mixed-media projects, along with clear step-by-step instructions and detailed photographs for each sample shown.

Click here to visit The Studio.

 


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Gabriela DIYHow-To ,,,,,

You may think the card-giving season is over, but we disagree. There’s always a special occasion to send out a thoughtful, greeting card to a friend or family member, and if there isn’t — then make one up! And don’t forget that now’s the perfect time to send out Thank You cards for all those […]

Celebrate the New Year with New January Issues + A Chance to Win

January 5th, 2015

Start the New Year right with inspiring new titles! What better time to challenge your creativity than now, especially with a brand-new publications that offer stunning photographs, step-by-step instructions, and insights from top artists. If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, then you won’t want to miss out on Where Women Create BUSINESS, which offers creative advice from artistic entrepreneurs. If fashion is your passion, then you’ll love the fresh styles in Belle Armoire. And if you need something with a bit more old-world charm, then you’re sure to love this issue of Prims, which will transport you to a wonderful bygone era with handcrafted folk art.

 

January Issues

This year, we want to inspire you to new creative heights with magazines that will feed your creative soul and rouse your muse. That’s why we’re offering our beloved blog subscribers an exclusive promotion! Use the coupon code BLOG0115 at checkout to get $5 off any of our new January issues.

 
 
 
 

Somerset Studio

Somerset Studio - January Issues



Start the year off right with stunning new mixed-media inspiration. This issue of the Somerset Studio features an Artist Profile on Louise O’Hara of Drawn to Stitch, plus the gorgeous results of our lilac Color Challenge. Learn how to make new art from discarded book covers, and discover new ways to work with an old favorite — washi tape. Get detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make your very own mixed-media stickers, and elevate your art to a whole new level. You won’t want to miss out on Shelly Broughton’s stunning lilac-inspired landscapes, or a charming handmade book that’s full of tongue-in-cheek humor. Find all this and more in the new winter issue.

 

Belle Armoire

Belle Armoire - January Issues



Get up to speed on the latest winter fashions with the newest edition of Belle Armoire. Our Designer Collection features the popular couture clothing and accessories of Susan Lafica, the talented designer and stylist behind Sicilian Gypsy and Fiori Couture. Colleen Davis shows how to make beautiful sweaters and shawls, and we’re taking a closer look at the quirky lagenlook clothing from Maura Davenport of RitaNoTiara. Don’t miss out on artisan projects like bold and beautiful arrowhead necklaces and rustic macramé sweaters and dresses, plus get an inside look at Vancouver Eco Fashion Week from Katherine Soucie, and so much more.

 

Somerset Life

Somerset Life - January Issues



Make a resolution to infuse creativity into every facet of your life in 2015, and get started on this creative pledge with inspiration from the winter issue of Somerset Life. Learn how to make beautiful statement bracelets in 10 minutes using craft brads, how to dye ribbons, and turn washi tape into decorative stickers. You won’t want to miss L. Katherine Roberts feature about a creative and heartfelt way to preserve a wedding bouquet, or the insightful musings of Emma Tree in our Authentic Living column. We share even more Creative Living Ideas, including clever, easy-to-make boot cuffs and how to brighten someone’s day with a secret message in a bottle.

 

Prims

Prims - January Issues



Travel back in time to a bygone era with the wonderful world of primitive dolls and Americana artwork in Prims. In this issue, you’ll meet Judy Smith’s collection of army-themed bears: four compassionate sisters who care for the wounded and four heroic soldiers who fall in love with the sisters. Also making an appearance is The Backyard Bunch by Cheryl Foster, an adventurous group inspired by her kids and their friends. Ami Jone’s primitive rabbit is working smart, lounging on a rake and sorting his carrots while his friend Sheep watches from the sidelines. You’ll definitely want to see Karen Brady’s Woodland Creatures and Toadstools, The Angels Isabella Portini Garland by Renee Tousignant, and Robin Seeber’s seasonal Hip Hopper Collection of rabbits.

 

Art Journaling

Art Journaling - January Issues



It’s a brand-new year and the perfect time to pick up art journaling — especially when you can get tips and techniques directly from the masters! Discover how Susie LaFond uses her distinct mixed-media style to bring a touch of serenity to her work in this issue’s Artist Profile. Also, learn how Micheline Montgomery incorporates fine art into her journal, and tag along with Gina Lee Kim as she explores the possibilities of watercolor. You won’t want to miss the way Sue Kalicki captures her travels in collage and paint, or how Nancy Baumiller combines digital and traditional journaling to create multi-dimensional pages.

 

Mingle

Mingle - January Issues



Start your year with a gathering that celebrates life, from a vintage-inspired luncheon to a breathtaking farm-to-table dinner party that will have your guests asking for seconds. The winter issue of Mingle is full of creative ideas for getting together. Visit an airplane-themed boy’s birthday celebration that harkens back to the golden-age of air travel and a wonderful tea party, complete with a variety of natural teas and honey. Get an insider’s look into the fabulous art retreats of Idyllworks of Maine, plus join us for a workshop to learn the ins-and-outs of making the perfect cocktail. Plan a fun fashion swap party for close friends, or soak up inspiration for an artsy auction house wedding, full of darling DIY touches.

 

The Stampers’ Sampler

The Stampers' Sampler - January Issues



What expresses love better than a homemade, handwritten card? Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the newest issue of The Stampers’ Sampler! Find the results of our Hearts of a Different Color Challenge, featuring cards that veer away from the typical Valentine’s Day color scheme. Learn how to incorporate mixed-media with your stamped creations, see how artists use the same stamp to create completely different looks, and so much more. Get out your paints, inkpads, and patterned paper scraps, because you will not want to miss this colorful and inspiring issue!

 

Jewelry Affaire

Jewelry Affaire - January Issues



This winter promises pages of artful baubles and inspiring jewelry. Director of education at Vintaj, Jess Italia Lincoln, showcases a beautiful collection of embossed necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Vintage jewelry lovers will enjoy Inez Dunn’s pastel, beaded necklace reminiscent of 1950s charm. Ever wonder what to do with that mismatched collection of buttons? Cindy Wimmer suggests repurposing them into a one-of-a-kind necklace. Flip through pages that are filled with intriguing creations, including crocheted wire necklaces, bottle cap earrings, statement gemstones, brooches inspired by famous explorers, and more.

 

Where Women Create Business

Where Women Create BUSINESS - January Issues



Whether your business is small, large, or merely a dream that’s waiting to unfold, this issue of Where Women Create BUSINESS has useful guidelines that will help make it a success. Learn how Marsha Giambalvo and Melissa Mohr of Backdoor Harvest, a group of St. Louis urban farmers, grow, maintain, and harvest small crops in local backyards. Gather advice from Stacey Dugliss-Wesselman, of Cold Spring Apothecary, whose business creates medicinally focused and remedy based products fueled by the healing power of botanicals and herbs. We’re also very excited to reveal insights from Lia Griffith of Handcraft Your Life, Becky Nunn of Nunn Design, producer of high-quality jewelry findings, with generational artisans based in the United States, and designer and clothing store owner Andrea Gear of Andrea Gear Designs.

 

Your Chance to Win One of Our January Issues!

We’re giving away brand-new January issues to THREE lucky winners! Simply follow these steps to enter for your chance to win:

1) Click on your favorite spread above.

2) Pin or “Like” that particular issue.

3) If you pinned to Pinterest, share the link in the comments section below. If you “liked” on Facebook, tag us so we can see.

4) If you don’t have Facebook or Pinterest, please comment below and tell us which issue you find most appealing and why.

*Winners are selected at random and will be contacted via email. *$5 off discount applies to purchases of any of the following 2015 January issues only: Somerset Studio, Art Journaling, Belle Armoire, Jewelry Affaire, Mingle, Prims, Somerset Life, The Stampers’ Sampler, and Where Women Create BUSINESS. Discount code can be used only one time per customer, and expires 1/31/15. Contest is open to U.S. residents and ends 01/31/15 at 11:59pm.

 

Congratulations to Our Glimpse Inside Winners for the Month of December:

Donna Kalinowsky, Christi Conley, Rae Jean Wycoff

 

Congratulations to our Artful Resolution Winner:

Dena Jardin

 


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Gabriela Art JournalingBelle ArmoireContestJewelry AffaireMinglePrimsSomerset LifeSomerset StudioThe Stampers' SamplerWhere Women Create BUSINESS ,,,,,,,

Start the New Year right with inspiring new titles! What better time to challenge your creativity than now, especially with a brand-new publications that offer stunning photographs, step-by-step instructions, and insights from top artists. If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, then you won’t want to miss out on Where Women Create BUSINESS, […]

Insta-Grammys: The 10 Most Popular Instagram Images of 2014

December 30th, 2014

blog_8-2014 copy

As we look ahead to the approaching New Year, we can’t help but glance back to all the wonderful and inspiring artwork that we featured on Instagram this past year. So gather around and follow along as we unveil the 10 most popular Instagram images of 2014. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more visual inspiration, tips and techniques from top artists, and exclusive chances to participate in creative contests.

 

icon_instagram< ---Click here to follow us on Instagram!

 

 

The 10 Most Popular Instagram Images of 2014

Connie Govea Stuart Paper HeartsMixed-media artist Connie Govea Stuart helped us rediscover the romance of handwritten correspondence with these paper hearts and matching envelopes.

From the pages of the summer 2014 issue of Somerset Life.

 
 
 
 
 

PumpkinsMarie Morgan’s Goofy Jack’s were quite popular in October.

From the pages of the autumn 2014 issue of Prims.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hot ChocolateWho wouldn’t want to curl up with one of these beautiful mugs, filled with delicious Mexican hot chocolate? Project and photograph by j29events and Mint and Mirth.

From the pages of the autumn issue of Mingle.

 
 
 
 
 

FlowersCatrin Welz-Stein’s gorgeous artwork was a fan-favorite this year!

From the pages of the winter 2014 issue of Artful Blogging.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Drift Wood ShipsEveryone wanted to sail away on one of Sofia Tryon’s charming driftwood ships.

From the pages of the autumn 2014 issue of GreenCraft.

 
 
 
 
 
 

She is lovedWe all agreed that Kathryn Paigen’s uplifting card was amazing, beautiful, and definitely loved on Instagram!

From the pages of the summer 2014 issue of The Stampers’ Sampler.

 

 

 

 

Colorful Sail ShipsSail boats were a reoccurring theme this year. Especially those made with recycled materials, like the rusted nails, metal wire, and vintage maps like Shirley Vauvelle used to create these charming sculptures.

From the pages of November/December 2014 issue of Somerset Studio.

 

 

 

BookCatrin Welz-Stein’s stunning digital artwork made it into our top 10 list, twice! And it’s not hard to see why!

From the pages of the winter 2015 issue of Artful Blogging.

 

 

 

 

PROJ-0870-600x600Guest artist, Juliette Crane, stopped by The Studio and gave us the step-by-step instructions for recreating this dreamy work of art.

Click here to see the full project.

 

 

 

 

Mini Christmas Tree Place Card HoldersEven Somerset Place made it onto the most popular Instagram images with a special project that was featured exclusively [On the Blog].

Click here to see the full project.
 

 
 

 
 

We Want to Hear From You!

We saw some recurring themes this year on Instagram — like the sail boats and Catrin’s beautiful digital artwork. We also had some one-of-a-kind fan favorites, like Marie’s Goofy Jacks and Kathryn’s charming, mixed-media card. Now we want to know, out of these 10 images, which is your favorite? Leave us a comment with your top choice!

 




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Gabriela Artful BloggingDIYGreenCraft MagazineGuest ArtistHolidaysHow-ToMinglePrimsSomerset LifeSomerset StudioThe Stampers' SamplerTop 10 ,,,,,,,,,,,

As we look ahead to the approaching New Year, we can’t help but glance back to all the wonderful and inspiring artwork that we featured on Instagram this past year. So gather around and follow along as we unveil the 10 most popular Instagram images of 2014. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram […]

Wishing You Love, Beauty, and Creativity this Holiday Season

December 25th, 2014

Christmas Card 2012

{Hover over the image to read the inside of the card!}

 

We Want to Know Your Artful Resolutions for 2015

Have you had a chance to read all of the creative resolutions that some of our favorite artists, writers, and photographers shared with us? Now we want to hear from you! Tell us what you think about these resolutions, and share your own artful resolutions for a chance to win a Papaya Art Weekly Planner.

Click here to learn more!

 

Sneak Peek: The Insta-Grammys of 2014

What did you get for Christmas? If you were gifted with brand-new crafting supplies, or you need a bit of inspiration to reinvigorate you after the holiday season, then join us for a very special blog post. In our last post of the year, we will pay tribute to our 9 most popular Instagram images of 2014. You won’t want to miss out on all the inspiring projects, photographs, and imagery! Join us here at Somerset Place on  Monday, December 29th.

Click here to follow us on Instagram.


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Gabriela Holidays ,,,

{Hover over the image to read the inside of the card!}   We Want to Know Your Artful Resolutions for 2015 Have you had a chance to read all of the creative resolutions that some of our favorite artists, writers, and photographers shared with us? Now we want to hear from you! Tell us what […]

Artful Resolutions from Creative Souls

December 23rd, 2014
Artwork by Olga Siedlecka~Artwork by Olga Siedlecka


It’s in our nature to always strive for new goals. Some might think this is due to a competitive nature, but I think it’s because art helps us grow. I am always reminded of this just as New Years begins to creep up on me. We all have similar thoughts — eat better, hit the gym, get organized, finish projects, etc. Sometimes, it even seems like we’re pressured into making resolutions that we don’t really care about. It’s a slippery slope for an artist to make a promise that he or she may not be able or even willing to keep. But then again, resolutions can also be exceedingly positive when we make them for all the right reasons. In an attempt to elevate the tradition of the New Year’s Resolution to its full artistic potential, we decided to ask some of our creative friends what types of artistic resolutions they planned to make, how they would pursue inspiration in the new year, and most importantly, how they broke up their goals into manageable projects that could actually be attained. The responses were heartfelt and incredibly insightful, and we hope that while reading these, you’ll gain inspiration for your own artful resolutions.  

We are so grateful to have had 24 creative souls participate in this special project. However, with over 65 thoughtful and thorough responses to our questions, there’s simply no way we can showcase all the answers in this blog post.

Click here to read all the responses provided by our guest artists.

Also, don’t forget to scroll all the way to the end of this post to learn how you can win a beautiful Papaya Art Weekly Planner.

 

What is your creative/artful resolution for 2015?

 

Tuttle_question1~Photograph by Susan tuttle

 

“I’ve definitely found my creative niche in photography and love every moment of the process, from taking the photos to digitally enhancing them, but there is also a love in me for painting, in particular abstract painting. In terms of my career, I’ve been quite busy with photography and teaching online, so have found it difficult to make time to paint. My artistic goal for 2015 is to carve out some time, however small, to paint. I made a conscious choice to start with the un-lofty goal to create at least three paintings in 2015. This simple expectation of myself takes the pressure off, makes it doable, and gets me excited!” ~Susan Tuttle

~*~

I’m not one for making resolutions at the beginning of the year. My philosophy is that I’d much rather reflect on the past year and recognize all I have done. I find that to be empowering and motivating. Each January I have a ritual of making a Ta-Da list. I start with the end of December and work my way back to the first of the year, making notes of everything that I can remember doing during the year. It is easier to start with the most recent self-imposed assignments. Eventually I recall a full list of achievements, missions, chores, and projects that leaves me feeling really good. Sure, there are always things left on my To-Do list…there is always more to do, and ideas that are still in-process. However, when you move items from your To-Do list to your Ta-Da list you celebrate what you’ve completed — that’s much more affirming than worrying about the tasks ahead, and the pledge to make changes with the turn of the calendar page.  Maybe you could start 2015 by patting yourself on the back for all the work you completed in 2014, from art projects to self-improvement, and then carry forward the positive energy into the brand new year. Make a Ta-Da list, because it’s way more fun than a To-Do list!” ~Michelle Ward Download your own To-Do and Ta-Da lists, compliments of Michelle Ward.

~*~

“Seriously, my resolution this year is to try and keep my workload manageable so that I leave some time for myself to grow as an artist. To be truly creative takes time … I am a slow worker and I need time to allow ideas to grow and develop, but I don’t always give myself enough time. I would love to work on a bigger scale — it’s something that I generally shy away from but I think it may be time to push myself to work bigger. I think that working on a larger scale will bring a sense of freedom. I would also love to learn some new skills; traditional bookbinding and printmaking are both on my to-do list so maybe this is the year!” ~ Kate Crane

~*~

“My creative resolution is to not compare myself, my art, and my personality, to other creatives out there. It’s so hard not to do this because with so many of us, the goal is to distinguish ourselves, but in order to do this we must be true to who we are and why we create. We must follow and trust our intuitions and design aesthetic and not worry about what other artists doing.” ~Cat Kerr

~*~

Caitlin Dundon  Charming Bird Hope small~Artwork by Caitlin Dundon


“Several years ago, I stopped making official resolutions that start in January of each year. I found that after the busy holiday season, I needed a little bit of a break at the beginning of January and didn’t need the pressure of heavy resolutions. Instead, I make monthly resolutions year round. Using the Japanese “Kanban” approach — I have workflow post-its that represent projects I am in process of working on, projects I want to do (but are not ready to go yet), or projects I’m waiting for approval on, and projects I’ve completed recently. It’s nice to be able to move items to the done list! Certainly I have dream projects that I want to create, and sometimes I have to put them on a back burner if I have other things that require my attention first. I find that writing down your dreams/projects/desires, creates the kind of magic you need to get things to come into being. I have pride in completing and finishing a lot of projects during the course of a year, I know that there will always be projects that don’t come to fruition. I think it’s important to finish things, but it’s also important to accept that sometimes it is the process that is the most important thing. I find that if I ever have a moment of “artist’s block,” where I pause when I have a blank piece of paper or wood panel in front of me — I just force myself to dive in. Just cover the surface with anything, any color, and any collaged bits of paper. By just doing it, you are freeing yourself. You are allowing yourself to let go and just create. Sometimes I discover something new in doing this, something wonderful. Sometimes I make something I don’t like, but the beauty of the process is that you can keep layering, sanding, painting, adding gesso, stamping, inscribing, etc., and magically it becomes something that I love.” ~Caitlin Dundon

~*~

“I prefer to use the words “creative invitation” as opposed to “resolution”. It feels like a gentler approach and works much better for me at this stage of my life and creative career. I am aiming for greater trust in my days…trust that my creativity will continue to lead me where I need to go, whether that is through my fine art, further developing my product line, or becoming more involved with teaching.  I can make all the lists I want about this or that path, but I am finding that simply showing up in my studio day after day and allowing space for the journey to unfold, without designating precisely what that journey is, brings the most rewards. so I suppose my creative invitation to myself for 2015 is to stay out of my own way, create freely without the overlay of how to make money, or be practical with my endeavors, and to stay in the game and allow room for serendipity to seep in.” ~Anna Corba

~*~

“I do not believe in resolutions and I do not make to-do lists. What I love to do is to stop when I feel the overwhelming need to make changes and take the time to listen to what my heart is telling me. I think of a resolution as an ongoing process, and instead of making it the end-of-the year habit I react to every situation through my impulses. When I am free of overwhelming expectations and due dates, I am successful in not rushing the moments, but really letting myself dive into them. My creativity springs when I give it time, space, and peace. Working as an independent creator is a continuous learning curve that above anything else includes self-improvement. …” ~Sylvia Stefanova

~*~

“To be a better servant to my muse, to resist nothing, and to suppress the ego dragon, which uselessly guards the gold. I know all of you creatives out there will fully understand what I mean by that.” ~Sandra Evertson  

 

What do you do to stay inspired — will you be looking to new sources of inspiration in 2015?

 

Kelly Letky each dawn is a new beginning~Photograph by Kelly Letky

 

“This one is easy: I go outside. Nature never fails to inspire me, from a pink cotton candy sunrise to a black crow eating seed in the driveway. I listen. To the birds, the wind, and the quiet whisper of flowers growing. To the sound of snowflakes gently hitting the ground, the cacophony of migrating geese that always makes me laugh, and the rustle of leaves passing through the tall poplars. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where I can walk outside and hear these things. I listen, to life.” ~Kelly Letky

~*~

“I am a very community-oriented artist and often gain inspiration from connecting to other artists. As such, I will be increasing the number of workshops I teach with other artists, participating in a multi-artist collaborative art project, overseeing a group art exhibition, and setting up several, open-call online collaborations on my blog. Living in NYC provides a ton of inspiration and my goal for 2015 is to be more consistent in actually visiting the galleries, museums and other art venues that always provide me with creative fuel.” ~Seth Apter

~*~

“I attend art retreats and workshops that are out of my comfort zone. For example, I really do not love to paint, so I place myself in a painting class to be stimulated and stretched. I may never paint again, but I always go away with new inspirations and challenges that apply to my daily life whether it be cooking a delicious meal in my kitchen or trying a new technique in my art studio. I will continue to participate in online workshops because they always feed my creative appetite. ” ~Deb Taylor

~*~

Monica Sabolla Gruppo ArtRes2~Photograph and Artwork by Monica Sabolla Gruppo


“I won’t be looking for them, as I believe inspiration comes from within and not from the outside. As to stay inspired, I will keep soaking up Nature and silence, going for solo drives and hikes in the glorious English countryside, or visiting Manor Houses and gardens — almost always unplanned and without a map (but always with my camera, sketchbook and a journal). These activities quiet my mind, fill my joy tank, and are always source of endless inspiration, and amazing clarity for me (in my work, for my life).” ~Monica Sabolla Gruppo

~*~

“I practice rituals from the book, “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. I have tweaked the rules-to suit me. I type my Morning Pages — you’re supposed to handwrite three pages. But I couldn’t read my writing, so I type. If my weekly Art Walk Date is canceled by life or the weather — I don’t let that stop me — I take my Art Walks-online. I go visit other countries, and/or watch a foreign or historical film, or visit Pinterest.  I do prefer to physically visit a place with fresh eyes. I always take my camera and chase light. Photos for me are visual poems.  My favorite painters are the sun, the moon, and the weather. Yes, I love all the Gelli art I am seeing and want to play with this medium. Art is fluid and always moving like the Northern Lights. I need to continue to grow, change, evolve, and playing with new sources helps expand our horizons. ” ~Ella Wilson

~*~

“The journey to a personal body of work is different in that I am compelled to wear blinders to sources of outside inspiration, I realize this sounds a tad ridiculous, especially in our 24/7 internet world. But I long to be in my cave (aka studio), holed up in mad-scientist/artist mode, playing with paint to see what comes up and where my muse guides me. It is important for me to rely on internal sources of inspiration as I have done in the past. For me, this typically means lots of time in nature, writing in my journals, meditation, and practicing yoga. These things will clear my mind and allow ideas to emerge in due course.” ~Mary Beth Shaw

~*~

“Cleaning your workspace is always a good idea as it often results in a surprising discovery that will eventually become a part of a future whole. I usually visit a flea market to find some rusty additions or just to look around. I also like to spoil myself with some little purchase, like new brushes or paints. After the shopping I always look forward to working with my new buy. My advice is to look through art and photo albums, and even some children books, too. Don’t forget nature with its colours and details. A piece of bark can be more inspiring than professionally printed papers.” ~Olga Siedlecka

~*~

“To stay inspired I like to do things that slow me down. Activities such as yoga and meditation are good places to go whenever I need to unwind and relax…which puts me in a peaceful frame of mind to receive creative thoughts and ideas. If you prefer more physical movement to quiet the mind, walking alone outside, especially in nature, can also be a good way to go.” ~Becky Shander  

 

How do you, as an artist/photographer/writer, set challenging but attainable goals?

 

Mary Wangerin IMG_3039 2~Photograph by Mary Wangerin

 

“When I begin to notice myself slip into that easy, comfortable zone while creating, I know it’s time to unleash my brave and bold and introduce a new creative goal. Pushing past that comfort level is where we grow, discover, and uncover amazing new techniques and processes; and ultimately when we have the most fun!

Sometimes that means I say yes to opportunities that thrill, but scare me. Sometimes I give myself a time limit for finishing a painting. Sometimes I challenge myself to use colors I don’t normally ever use while painting. Sometimes I collaborate with a fellow artist on a painting.

It’s all in allowing myself to try new things creatively, while embracing the discomfort of uncertainty/vulnerability that can come with a challenge!” ~Mary Wangerin

~*~

“During a screen writing class, the teacher asked: ‘What is the biggest difference between famous screenplay writers and yourselves?’ After a moment, he answered his own question, “They took their work to completion.” That became my motto. Take your work to the finish line. Not doing so may be the only thing standing between you and success. Remove that barrier and a path opens before you. I have an ongoing list of long and short term projects. I keep revisiting each project until it is complete. My children’s book took sixteen years to percolate and has just been self-published. A sketch I did in 30 seconds during my son’s violin lesson, sold as a print. Methodical, long-term works sprinkled with short-term projects keeps me moving forward.” ~Cathryn Mezzo

~*~

“First and foremost, I must write down my monthly, weekly, and daily goals in a daily planner, otherwise they’re just thoughts rumbling around in my head. Each month I think about what I want to accomplish overall, usually a big project or something that gets me closer to a bigger goal. Then I break that goal down into weekly and daily goals. I’m a big fan of micro-movements and achieving large goals in small chunks. Even if it’s something as challenging as writing a novel, if I break it down into itty bitty goals (10 minutes of research, 500 words a day, etc.) it makes the writing so much easier for me to accomplish.” ~Cassandra Key “By setting smaller, attainable daily goals, my more challenging goals end up being reached without even knowing it! A little mind trickery.” ~Michelle Shefveland

~*~

 “My goals need to be specific in nature. If they are too vague my performance can’t be evaluated. For instance, it isn’t enough to just commit to journaling or painting. I have to make that goal specific by committing to work in my journal at least twice a week or creating one new canvas a month. It is also important for me that my goals be realistic or I might get too overwhelmed from falling behind. I also adjust my goals as I go along when my circumstances change or I am inspired to move in a different direction. I have to remain flexible.” ~Roben-Marie Smith

~*~

“I’m not too aggressive when setting goals for myself. As a stay-at-home mom, time with family always comes first. Creative time may need to occur during school hours and evenings, but I do push myself a bit more when my Etsy store is looking empty or I have a vendor show coming up. Nothing like a hard deadline to get my gears going! I’m a firm believer in making lists, especially of creative ideas that pop into my head. Not all the ideas come to fruition, but many do make it to a finished project – and that feels wonderful. I never chastise myself for not getting to projects on the list, because there’s always some day.” ~Susan Frick

~*~

“I don’t think I am the right person to ask this! I have big, giant goals! I am working on setting smaller goals for myself, and most of all working at celebrating the small accomplishments along the way. Often times, as soon as I accomplish a goal I feel like ‘done! Now on to the next thing,’ and I forget to celebrate the small steps, which then leads to burn out. A couple of internet friends who have great podcasts about these types of topics are Tara Swiger, Abbey Glassenberg, and Jamie Ridler, and Kari Chapin who just started a new podcast too. I love listening to these podcasts while I work. Hearing about other artists struggling with the same issues inspires me to be a bit gentler with myself and my work.” ~Claudine Hellmuth

~*~

D Smith Kaich Jones now_what~Photograph by D. Smith Kaich Jones


“I just begin. One sentence, I tell myself. One line, one paragraph. I always begin by describing the day outside and inside. The mundane things. Where the cat is and what she’s doing. What the weather’s like. That keeps my fingers nimble, loosens me up.  It’s a warm up for the race ahead, but I don’t run marathons.

I keep bowls full of words and phrases, and if I’m having trouble grabbing an idea, I grab a word and hold it and pay attention to the feelings it invokes, the images it throws my way.  One of my favorite books is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, and one of my very favorite parts of that book is this:

‘He’d been having trouble with students who had nothing to say. At first he thought it was laziness but later it became apparent that it wasn’t. They just couldn’t think of anything to say.

One of them, a girl with strong-lensed glasses, wanted to write a five-hundred word essay about the United States. He was used to the sinking feeling that comes from statements like this, and suggested without disparagement that she narrow it down to just Bozeman.

When the paper came due she didn’t have it and was quite upset. She had tried and tried but she just couldn’t think of anything to say. 

It just stumped him. Now he couldn’t think of anything to say. A silence occurred, and then a peculiar answer: ‘Narrow it down to the main street of Bozeman.’ It was a stroke of insight.

She nodded dutifully and went out. But just before her next class she came back in real distress, tears this time, distress that had obviously been there for a long time. She still couldn’t think of anything to say, and couldn’t understand why, if she couldn’t think of anything about all of Bozeman, she should be able to think of something about just one street.

He was furious. ‘You’re not looking!’ he said. A memory came back of his own dismissal from the University for having too much to say. For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. The more you look the more you see. She really wasn’t looking and yet somehow didn’t understand this.   

He told her angrily, ‘Narrow it down to the front of one building on the main street of Bozeman. The Opera House. Start with the upper left-hand brick.’

Her eyes, behind the thick-lensed glasses, opened wide.  

She came in the next class with a puzzled look and handed him a five-thousand-word essay on the front of the Opera House on the main street of Bozeman, Montana. ‘I sat in the hamburger stand across the street,’ she said, ‘and started writing about the first brick, and the second brick, and then by the third brick it all started to come and I couldn’t stop. They thought I was crazy, and they kept kidding me, but here it all is. I don’t understand it.’

Those words in those bowls are my bricks. I start with just one, and I list (even if just mentally) all the obvious things, and then keep going.” ~D. Smith Kaich Jones

 

A Warm Thank You to all the Creative Souls

We’re so grateful to all the artists, photographers, and writers, who participated in this blog post. Thank you for sharing your plans for the future, sources of inspiration, and your techniques for success.

Don’t forget, you can read all of our artists’ responses by clicking here.

 

Tell us your Artful Resolution for a Chance to Win:

5PA-CAL15PLN004-Papaya-Art-Sun-Speak-2015-Weekly-Planner-300x300Now we want to hear from you, our beloved readers! Tell us what you think about these resolutions and share your own artful resolutions for a chance to win a Papaya Art Weekly Planner. This gorgeous planner has a sturdy, hard cover and special features like foil accents, pockets, and an elastic closure, making it both functional and beautiful.

For your chance to win, simply leave us a comment below. We’ll select a winner at random and contact them via email as well as announcing their name in our upcoming Glimpse Inside Blog Post on January 1st, 2015.

Contest ends on December 31st at 11:59pm. Good Luck!

 


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Gabriela Guest ArtistHolidays ,,,,,,

~Artwork by Olga Siedlecka It’s in our nature to always strive for new goals. Some might think this is due to a competitive nature, but I think it’s because art helps us grow. I am always reminded of this just as New Years begins to creep up on me. We all have similar thoughts — […]