Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I love this time of the year!  I want to make sure I love it for the right reasons, so I've been keeping a journal of the cool Christmas quotes I find over the years.  Adding one a day assures I'll always keep the reason for the season centered in my heart, no matter the hustle and bustle.  Here's a peek of some of my favorites.  You can see a few more pages over on Sketchbook Challenge.

I feel great love and happiness and wish you all the Merriest of Christmases, and Happiest of New Years!  May you spend it in the loving embrace of family and friends!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last minute push!

It's all out pandemonium for the Holbrook household!  Deadlines to be met, projects to be finished and photographed, proposals to be written, a house to be cleaned, bills to be paid and TONS of catching up on paperwork and advertising details!  PLUS, it's an all out push to finish up the details of my Workshop in France next year!  (Details coming soon I PROMISE!  I had to wait for some info back from the travel agent, and some from the dept of tourisim!)

It seems a bit overwhelming, and I LOVE the holiday season. This year, all my deadlines converged on me for the months of November and December! 

So in advance, to those wonderful friends out there waiting to hear from me, January is coming.  I hope to have things well in hand by then and will be calling for get togethers and catch up visits!  I will barely have time to stop and smell the Christmas smells until then.

I can only give sneak peeks, but here are just a few of the multitude of projects I've finished and submitted!  Next year promises to be an exciting one- filled with Love, Joy and ART!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 Once in a Lifetime

Today is a special day!  Over on Sketchbook Challenge, the hosts are showing art collections that we have on our desks today.  Mine is Sculpey's Premo! Polymer Clay-  I'm in a super clay mood these days!  So since it's such a special once in a lifetime kind of day today-  I intend to live it as a special one anyway!  My plan is to eek every viable minute making art today.  My favorite thing to do- so why not indulge on such a special occasion.  I purposefully took care of all my errands today, so I can get up and indulge in a special cup of Organic Chai Vanilla Rooibus tea, and head straight to my art.  I'm all set up and ready to go.  I have several last minute deadlines I must meet, but I am enjoying them.  12/12/12 will be an all polymer clay day!  Project prototypes, Christmas gifts, class samples and about 9 other things to be accomplished.  I'm aiming for 12- a nice even dozen to cross off my list!  So if you don't hear from me, I'm neck deep in art.  If you drop by to visit, be warned.  I do NOT plan on answering the door, but if you do get in, I don't plan to waste time cooking- leftovers it will be!  Nor getting dressed up. 12/12/12 is a day for ME, arting in PJ's ALL DAY. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Spices of Life

Today over on the Sketchbook Challenge Blog, it was my turn to pick the theme for the month.  I happily picked The Spice of Life!  I can't wait to see what everyone does with that challenge!

One of my motivating factors for this challenge is the time of year, obviously.  For some it may be wonderful, for some it may be more challenging.  Will their color schemes and images be darker?   It will be interesting to see what spices the other artists lives. Another thing behind this choice was how I spice up my art life, so it won't fall into a routine or rut.  In effort to continually keep learning, I self assign projects or studies.  For this particular sketchbook, I chose Georges Seurat, specifically his Pointillism. If you would like to know a bit more about him, check out the Web museum, Paris.  Finally, I love how spices are good for so many things!

For instance, did you know many people use Nutmeg as a natural sleeping aid?  I've had insomnia for years, and tried most of the prescription and over the counter stuff with little effect.  However, a glass of warm milk that has nutmeg in it really seems to relax me!

My mom makes these wonderful spice "Nerve" cookies.  They had tremendous buzz, as her doctor gave her the recipe originally. Supposedly, they had all the "happy" spices, the ones that release joy endorphins in the brain.  I don't know about the claims, but I DO know I was always happier with a cookie than without one! 

Mom's Nerve Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter

3 cups brown sugar
2 eggs plus 1 tablespoon water, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 cups flour
1 pinch allspice
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Cream butter and sugar until creamed. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Sift remaining dry ingredients together. Add to the creamed mixture. Shape into rolls, wrap in waxed paper and chill for 2 hours. Slice thinly and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Polyform Products Design Squad 2013

I'm so excited I'm ready to bust!  I just had to share the news- I was chosen to be a member of the Polyform Products Design Squad for 2013!  As you've seen here, I adore all things Sculpey, and love the availability and ease of use of the product line. 
They've been so kind, and sent me all sorts of goodies to experiment with- I can't wait to jump in!
If you can't wait either- I encourage you to check out their website and blog- GREAT information and tutorials there for you!
Starting in January, you'll be seeing regular creations and tutorials- so stay tuned:)  Same Bat channel, same Bat time for all you Halloweeners! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Seth Apter

Hi gang!
Just popping in to let you know that Seth Apter's next blog post "Pulse Points" for Create Mixed Media is up!  This month he's talking about jealousy and finding your artistic niche.  I am honored to have been on the panel of artists he interviewed for this project.  His interesting take on the subject is here

You can find Seth's blog here: The Altered Page
You can find his facebook page here: The Altered Page

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Joseph Cornell/Cabinet of Curiosities

 This month's theme on Sketchbook Challenge was Cabinet of Curiosities, and I was truly challenged as to what to do!  I could not overcome my old conceptions of what a CoC was- and it almost blocked me until I remembered a box I did when I was studying Joseph Cornell.

Every once in a while, I "self assign" myself an artist to explore.  I enjoy the research portion of the assignment, as much as the actual looking at the art.  I love reading everything I can get my hands on about that person, their life, their art.  I will sometimes even take it one step further, and research the person who influenced them!   Several years ago, I was researching Joseph Cornell.  He was a shy, odd little duck to say the least, but his assemblages or "portable shrines" always pull me in.  Something about their simplicity, yet deep meaning gets me every time.  His life was a difficult one, yet he could find beauty in the most basic thing.  I created a small series of wood boxes as I was studying him, and found a quiet peace about the process.  To see Cornells work, you can visit Paris's web museum here.  Why do I bring this up you ask?  It seemed perfect timing to bring these back out into the open for this month's Sketchbook Challenge. This month's topic is "Cabinet of Curiosities."  I'm not so big on skeletons and bugs, so my curiosities are ordinary things I am curious about, or want to look at in an explorative way.  Somehow, putting an egg in a box elevates it's importance, so we pay more attention to it's detail...

A couple years ago I went to a workshop with Lynn and John Whipple and had a great time whipping up this box of found objects!  Everything was found objects, including the box constructed of several old food crates!  I had made the doll from Sculpey and it was in my bag of old art pieces that had never found a home.  John and I covered it in carpenters glue, took it outside into the alley and set it on fire.  I really wanted that 'just un-earthed' look, and I am pretty happy with the results!
This month's challenge made me really think I wanted to make some more boxes this winter!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Patterns part deux

By the time this posts, I should be high in the sky, winging my way to beautiful Portland for a glorious week of art and friends at Art & Soul!  It did make me think however of a question I get frequently from my students about how I feel about them 'copying' my style.  Thought it would be a good time to address this.

Over at the Sketchbook Challenge Blog, I put up a little bit about how I go about making things my own style, even when in another's workshop or class.  When I teach a workshop, I never get upset if someone makes a piece of art that looks like mine.  It's only natural that when learning a new technique it will resemble the piece that inspired it.  BUT you don't want to get stuck there, making derivative work.  The goal is to move forward!  Jump in and make it your own.  I fully expect my students to do this once they are comfortable with the techniques.  It's my DESIRE that you master the technique I teach, and take it further!  I want you to be successful and move beyond where you started when you were in my workshop!  It's not acceptable to make 50 that look just like mine, and sell them, or teach the class I worked so hard to create (Even if you change the name).  PLEASE!~  Change it up, adapt it to the way you work, and add your own special ZING to the mix.  My zing is layers and pattern overload.  I will somehow find a way to add texture and pattern and layers, no matter what medium I am enjoying.  In fact, my favorite PART of a new technique is always getting it back to the studio and playing around with it, and discovering what works with it, and what doesn't! 

A simple way to make something your own in a fast workshop situation is with pattern!  I was so fortunate to take my friend Pam Carriker's class out in CA this spring.  I so adore her style!  She is the master of her style for it is authentic Pam.  No matter how I could try to copy the style, I know it would fall short, because it would just be Kari copying Pam- not true Kari.  I have to let my freak flag fly and be authentic me.  So even though I was using an image / Thermofax she created, I could still put my own personal touch on it with my own hand.  A happy meeting of her technique, with my style and embellishment.

Jump in to the unknown, learn, enjoy and own your art!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Seth Apter

Hello my pumpkins!  The cool weather this morning brought me my first non-caloric, gluten free, organically grown cup of hot chocolate...AND Seth Apters 1st installment of his new series called Pulse Points for Create Mixed Media.  It's a very well written discussion of what's percieved to be happening in the mixed media art world right now.  Several working artists contribute their insight into each post, while Seth masterfully guides the topic into an elegant and well spoken piece.  Very articulate and well though out, I find it closely mirrors what I'm feeling deep inside as an artist. (It's nice to know I'm not alone.) Sometimes it actually gives words to what is only a mish mash of a gut feeling for me.  It's there, somewhere, but I can't express it in such coherent words.  I invite you to pop over an see if you find it as delightfully inspiring as I did.  Besides the main post at CMM, Seth has a follow up on his blog The Altered Page as well.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Patterns for Sketchbook Challenge

Wow!  Are you all enjoying Sketchbook Challenge?  I know I sure am!  I REALLY loved this months challenge, which was all about patterns!  I did a quick journal recently specifically to practice drawing faces.  Faces are a challenge for me, so I try to practice them.  However being a true ADHD mixed media artist, I get bored JUST sketching.  So enter my patterns!  I created the journal using patterns, and then sketched over the patterns because more is better in my book! 

Step 1  Text as pattern  using Pam Carrriker's Mixed Media Adhesive, I randomly glued down old text.

Step 2  1st layer of patterned printed paper.  I used my line of large 8.5 x 11 stamps and Gelli Arts Geli Printing plate and printed on deli paper with acrylic paint in various colors.

Step 3  2nd layer of patterned printed paper, using a different color and building layer interest.  The deli papers are translucent when created with Fluid Acrylics.  To carry that translucency forward I used pan pastels.  Notice the top picture's arm and face, you can see the text underneath her.
Step 4  Begin drawing.  1st with pencil, then pan pastels and colored pencils.  Outline with Sharpie Twin Tip Marker or Pitt Artist Pens.
Step 5  Lettering begins at this phase.  Heavy on the pattern!  This is just a work in progress.  When finished, probably the majority of the images will only show in glimpses.
Step 6.  Beginning to pattern and decorate the drawings.  Anything can be decorated with pattern.  And patterns can be made by repeating anything over and over.  This girls sweater cabling is made up from the word 'repetition' being written over and over and on top and over again.
Finally after working in this color story for this small sketchbook, I decided I liked it enough to begin working on a canvas.  Here is the beginning, as you can see, I work on canvas the same as I do in my sketchbooks, building layers of patterend color!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Portland OR Anyone?

I'm so excited to be getting ready for Art & Soul Portland!  Oct 1-7th there will be art and friendship and partying to no end at the Red Lion on the River!  Not only will I get to celebrate with my wonderful students, enjoy making fabulous art but I also my art BFF's who live so far, and yet we can finish each other's sentences because we "get" each other!  We only get to see each other a few times a year, but make the time count!
Some of my classes are sold out already, but I still have a few spaces left in my
Rockin' Resin Reliquaries journal class on Monday where we will make lovely resin covered journals that are perfect for any occasion.  Not only will we play with Ice resin to make the lovely covers, but also, I'll be sharing all the background techniques I use in the journals I have been working in for the Sketchbook Challenge.

On Tuesday, it's the LAST opportunity to take my Fluid Romance class, for after 3 years of wonderful classes, it will be retired after Portland.  Hurry and sign up, as there are only a few spots left ;-)
Its a great class to not only learn all about Fluid Acrylics and your mediums, but also to learn some awesome collage and painting techniques.  Everyone walks out with gorgeous pieces!

On Wednesday my Delectable Doodles class will take you to new lands of possibility with your own lettering and handwriting styles!  It's full, but will be offered again in Virginia.

On Thursday in the Stamps & Stencils Journals, we will celebrate making our own papers with Stamps, stencils and shhh!  (THERMOFAX Screens) and then cover and bind our very own unique journal.  The sturdy, yet easy to handle stitch allows for our beautiful covered background journals to lie flat when opened, so we can continue working on them.

If you've never been to an Art Retreat- NOW is the time!  C'mon, I'll keep the porch light on for ya!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Industrial Chic Blog Hop Part 2

Vintage Vessels meet Industrial Chic

A couple months ago, I received a wonderful box filled full of the most awesome goodies from the new Industrial Chic Line!  I loved them so much, I almost immediately hopped in the car and headed to my local Michael's to see the rest of the line!   Wow!  Talk about kid in the candy store!  Even with the stash at home, I still had my little basket filled in a blink of an eye with  all sorts of the delightful thing-a-ma-bobs! I have lots of projects in store for these little lovelies!

                              industrial chic

I had been working in polymer clay, and within an hour or two had created the fun "Relic Rings" out of the Industrial Chic ring bezels!  I love the fat and wide and smooth styling- no pinching of fingers here when sizing.
 Using the 2 part molding putty, I created molds from some vintage cameos I owned, and with the addition of polymer clay, metal paints and a patina or two I was thrilled at the results.

Encouraged by the polymer clay fun, I decided to take my "Vintage Vessels" further with added Industrial Chic flare.  I particularly enjoyed the pinch frames, as I could pry them apart easily and add some of my own vintage photos and flowers and reassemble them under the transparency. 

I adore the metal knobs as the feet and the dangling charms make me smile.  What fun it was to take something I've been doing for awhile and change it up with the addition of these beauties!  I love going further and pushing myself to do more, and with this line, it makes it simple and successful!


I'll be teaching this Vintage Vessels class on Friday August 24th in Lisle, IL (Chicago area) at the Create Mixed Media Retreat!  Still have a few spots open, come join me! 

Our fun continues with a second Blog Hop for Industrial Chic. Here are the artists participating in the August Blog Hop:  See previous post to follow the great ideas in the July Links!

August 10th - Barbe St. John

August 11th - Cheryl Bodkins Waters

August 12th - Cindi Bisson

August 13th - Gretchen McHale

August 14th - Jenny Barnet Rohrs

August 15th - Kari McKnight

August 16th - Lindsay Obermeyer

August 17th - Seth Apter

August 18th- Suze Weinberg

August 19th - Tami Bayer

August 20th - Theresa Cifali

August 21st - Tracie Stivers Lampe

August 22nd - Traci Bautista

August 23rd - Jen Crossley

August 24th - Eileen Hull

August 25th - Pam Carriker

August 26th - Sandy Martin

Bezels and charms and spacers, OH MY!     Knobs and frames and chains, OH MY!        We're off to create in the studio, the wonderful studio of art!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Create NJ

Spacious classroom, inspired students in the Fluid Romance class at Create NJ
HOLY COW!  How does the time fly by so fast?  Must be because I LOVE what I am doing with such a passion!  I am just back from Create NJ, where the good times were plentiful and packed with excitement.

Besides getting to meet and stay with my long-time online friends (YAY!) I also got to spend time with my other instructor friends, and meet LOTS of new art friends! 

Normally, I never remember to or get an opportunity to take photos of my classes.  I was lucky Mike remembered and grabbed a few shots of some of my "Fluid Romance" class.  I always said I had the most talented, loveliest students- just look and see for yourself!

If you've never been to a Mixed Media Art Retreat, I strongly urge you to go.  Even if you are nervous that you will not know anyone else, or that you are new to mixed media and are unsure what everything is all about, I PROMISE you that by the first minute or two you walk in that first class, you will have a wealth of new, generous, sharing, warm and open friends.  A lot of times, they become forever friends!  Some of my closest friendships started at an Art Retreat!  Emails make the world a much smaller place.

The Instructors are open and generous, and willing to share tips and tricks from their own studios, saving you YEARS of trial and error in all manner of media.  Everyone you encounter will share where they buy their special bargain goodies, or what new product they just LOVE, and how they are using it.

If you want to experience a life changing, eye opening, and inspiring event, I urge you to attend one of these events, even if you can only go to one or two classes!  Your brain will bubble over with fabulous ideas for months following!

I invite you to join me at CREATE Chicago, from Aug 22-26, 2012


or at Art & Soul Portland, from October 1-7, 2012
You too could step out of your comfort zone just this once, and be rewarded for a lifetime as result!Hope to see you there! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Industrial Chic Blog Hop

Do you all know about Susan Lenart Kazmer and her fabulous new line 'Industrial Chic'?

She's an awesomely clever artist, and has been producing fantastic art from found objects for years now.  I used to see all her wonderful art in books and at shows and drool big puddles, and NOW I can get replicas of those bits and pieces at Michael's!  (Of course I had to run right out and get some of the goodies right away!)

On her website Susan Lenart Kazmer: Industrial Chic, they are hosting a blog hop, and WOW!  The creative ways these bits and pieces are being used!   They sent several of us wonderful boxes filled with the most AWESOME goodies to play with.  I am still percolating on a project that will be worthy of the fab findings in my box!  My official post will be in August, but I wanted to let everyone know to jump on over and check out the blog hop right now!

Before my box arrived, I popped down to Michael's and bought several packages of  Industrial Chic's ring bezels, and found them to be a wonderful base for my Relic Rings!

Tootles for now- working on packing for Create Mixed Media in Somerset NJ, only a few days away!

Don't forget to peek at the fabulous art and ideas on the Industrial Chic July Blog Hop!

6 Ken Oliver

7 Vicki O'Dell

8 Cindy Cima Edwards
9 Elena Lai Etcehverry

10 Jen Osborn
11 Wanda Eash
12 Terri O
13 Susan Weckesser

14 Tracy Weinzafel