Sunday, April 30, 2017

Artiscape 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017
I am a first time attendee, and depending on my schedule next year, I hope to do this again. I first heard about this event straight from the horse’s mouth, so-to-speak, from Joe Rotello, whose brainchild Artiscape is. For those not in the art circle, Artiscape is a 3½ day convention of workshops and a marketplace where you can buy art supplies and various ephemera. It’s my understanding that there’s fewer vendors this year, but you can already drop a bucket load of money on just what is there (lots and lots of stencils and different kinds of stamps, etc.). I didn’t think I’d spend as much money as I did, and there’s still plenty more items I wouldn’t mind having.

Class #1 Nature’s Palette (taught by Trish ‘Hot Mess’ McKinney)
This was a five hour class where we learned how to create texture on a canvas by using cotton webbing and wet leaves. The idea of using wet leaves (coated in glycerin) was a revelation to me as I had previously tried to achieve the same effect using fresh leaves, but just couldn’t get the veins to come through. Now that I know the secret, I am eager to begin collecting again (early autumn is apparently the best time) and have another go.

I loved Trish’s analogy of how to arrange our items on the page by explaining it’s like a dinner party. The dark background color are the waiters, which you add towards the end, while the diva is the one bright color you use. You divide the canvas into three parts called Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear with Papa being the biggest, and the Baby being the smallest.

Even though my finished product didn’t bear much resemblance to Trish’s technique (a somewhat dark background with frosted leaves in the foreground), I was still quite happy with it. In fact, one of my classmates said it was her favorite and asked to borrow it to show to her friend. I’ve never had that happen before, so I was really flattered.

Friday Night Preview Party:
As this event was considerably cheaper than the Orient Express dinner on Saturday night, I decided to spring for it, which entitled attendees to free hors d'oeuvres (pizza, fruit, vegetables, mini cream puffs, etc.) and a cash bar as well as a first crack at the marketplace room (which didn’t open to the public until Sat). I met a nice lady named Sabrina who was from Indianapolis and also chatted with some of my classmates from earlier in the day, as well as Trish herself (whose stencils from Stencil Girl were on sale too). All in all I had a pretty good time and spent a bit more money while still walking away from an assortment of stencils, rubber stamps, and a couple cute little altered books & long sleeve t-shirt at another booth.

Saturday April 29, 2017
Class #2 Creative Awakenings Altered Book Journal (taught by Trish McKinney)
This was my second class with Ms. McKinney, who is such fun to take a class from. She reminds me a bit (at least her voice) of Katy Mixon from American Housewife. Though she may not be the most organized person, I think her students (myself included) understood. My stuff is all over the place and sometimes my mind is too. I think that’s just how creative people are; some of them at least.

Unlike yesterday’s five hour class, this one was only three, and still way too short. By the time Trish got done explaining and demonstrating several techniques we could use in our altered books, we only had perhaps an hour and a half or so to work on our projects (though we could stay over for a bit). All I got done was painting two pages. Knowing myself, I can see that book going into a drawer or onto a shelf where it will probably languish for months or years until I can find a spare minute to work on it.

Today’s lesson was about Integration. Trish said it’s fine to just glue down a whole bunch of different things, but to give it cohesiveness, you need to learn integration, which she demonstrated by using stencils and paint. When she was finished, every element of the page looked perfectly natural like it had always been there. I can’t wait to watch some of her videos and learn more.

I meant to ask Trish how long it takes her, on average, to complete a two page spread. Aside from drying time, it didn’t seem to take her too long, but I guess it helps when you have lots of ideas and knowledge of how to use the various techniques and supplies to bring your inspiration to life. I saw that some people in my class had completed more than just a couple pages, but I guess they had a pretty good idea of where they wanted to go with their journals. I was pretty impressed with what I saw at my table, but didn’t get a chance to look at everyone’s. Also, it appears that each of Trish’s books have a different theme, so I guess I need to decide what my book is going to be about. That’s one to ponder…
the one page that I'm not too ashamed to show off

Class #3 Transformation (taught by Nancy Curry, a misspelled tattooed, fellow Zombie Apocalypse fan) In this class we learned how to transform a glossy magazine page into a work of art by dropping (citrus scented) solvent on it and leaving it for about 20-30 minutes. Because there was only limited ventilation in our room, and not wishing to trigger anyone’s migraines, she created some example pages we could use, so we never got a chance to do our own pages.

She then illustrated ways you could further embellish the page afterwards by using stamps, stencils, paint and ink. The easiest thing, at least how it seemed to me, was to choose a stencil, dab a paper towel in solvent, and rub the solvent on the stencil leaving an imprint on your page. Lots of people did that. I wasn’t overly impressed with my results no matter what I did, but at least I found one page that I was happy enough to frame afterward. We were each provided with a free black 5 x 7 Ikea frame. However, I will probably take mine out of the frame at some point since I really feel like I hardly contributed to the artsy effect. Maybe I’ll glue it inside the altered book I made this morning.

Although I found the technique quite interesting, Nancy reckoned this wouldn’t work on just any magazine photo as she’s only had limited success and recommends sticking to National Geographic magazines from the 1990s through 2010. Hence, I feel like this has already been done and done better, so I can’t really see myself ever trying this. Also, I felt the class definitely could have been shorter, like an hour really since we didn’t have to allow drying time for our pages or anything like that. Honestly, I wish I had taken a different class since I had to pass up some because the times overlapped.

It felt a bit strange gong to a hotel for a conference and not actually be staying there. When I drove over there my body felt excited like I was tricking it into thinking we were going on vacation (esp as I dragged in a wheeled bag all 3 days). Then I felt a little sad every time I drove home, but there’s no point in paying exorbitant rates to stay at a hotel when you live less than 5 miles away. Plus, my body was all confused as to why we were going past my company on a non-work day. I am definitely going to be sick of going to Metro Place by Monday!

Best part of the weekend, besides just making art, is meeting kindred spirits, my tribe. Though we may not all have a lot in common, loving to do art is our common thread, and for that I felt truly bonded to my sisters in substrate.

Among other people I met today was young Cathleen who lives ‘in the middle of nowhere West Virginia’ where she works at a non-profit B & B people stay at to visit friends and family who are incarcerated in the nearby prison (the same one where Martha Stewart was sent, funnily enough). Cathleen said she absolutely fell in love with Appalachia, which I guess you would have to to live where she does without going crazy (at least for those of us who consider ourselves city folk; me amongst them).

I also met Sharon who is one of those rare adults (that I still only see infrequently) with braces. She sat across from me in the Transformation class, alongside her friend, Roxie, both of whom created much better art out of their acid dappled magazine pages. They were also quite happy to take lots of photos afterwards.

Then there was Cynthia who told me about a great website called The Greater Good (foundation) where she purchased her very cute and creative apron (though I didn’t see anything like that on the website, but found some great causes to donate to). There was another Cindy who was on the Artiscape staff and was playing the role of ticket taker for the Orient Express dinner. She was dressed in a Station Master’s uniform consisting of a long black slitted skirt, underneath of which she was wearing black shorts (because she said she couldn’t fit into her black trousers at present).

There’s lots of others whose names I don’t all recall, but just know I enjoyed meeting each and every one of you and look forward to seeing you all again next year, because I definitely plan on penciling this in for 2018. 

Sunday April 30, 2017
Class #4 Lights, Camera, Action! (taught by Jen “Oh Shit!” Crossley)
This class was definitely the highlight of my weekend. The project was to make a journal out of a camera. I like cameras. I like journals. It was the best of both worlds. Throw in some chocolate (though I had plenty of that from Trish’s classes) and I would have been in heaven!

I certainly didn’t expect to make a journal out of one of those cool art deco looking Brownie cameras. I figured maybe we’d just get one of the plain black ones, so kudos to Jen for sorting those on E-bay (reimbursement via Pay Pal will be on its way shortly). Also thanks very much to Mark (Jen’s husband) for taking pity on me and helping to take apart my camera (wish I had brought pliers).

The first step to making this journal was removing most of the “guts” from the camera before measuring out our paper to make pages to fit snug inside. It took at least the best part of the morning to get our cameras disassembled. I felt bad for those (like my table mate Sheree) whose cameras had rusted a little, because they definitely had a much more difficult time getting theirs apart.

Anyway, after lunch we all got started making our pages. I assume some others might have also gotten around to gluing down a bit of ephemera here and there, but I never got that far, nor did I intend to. Instead I wanted to get the structure of the journal done, or at least assembled enough that I could then finish it later at home.

My only criticism of the class was I would have preferred to have my camera completely disassembled and ready for me to make the pages, but that’s just me. I suppose that’s in direct contradiction to what I said about Nancy’s class yesterday, but not sure the two classes are really that comparable. No offense intended against either instructor.

After about six hours I accomplished my goal, and now get to the do the fun part, which is selecting photos and ephemera to put inside (which I’ve already done to some point). I may still add or switch the paper I use inside as I would prefer to have a deckled edge to my paper, or better yet, add handmade paper, but perhaps that’s another project for another day.

Cynthia, the one with the funky apron who was in some of my other classes this weekend, was also in my class, so we exchanged pleasantries and I ended up loaning her my needle when we were ready to bound our pages.

I also enjoyed meeting my table mates, Marcia and her sister Sheree, as well as Robin, whom I share a bit of geography with as she’s also from Northeast Ohio (Kinsman, Amish country). We also both know Mary Calabro, whom I used to babysit for when I was a teenager (like 100 years ago!).

Although it would have been nice to have the camera journal completed, I look forward to working on it in my spare time and then photographing it to show Jen. I was surprised how moved I was when I said good-bye to her. I only wish I had had the funds and courage to splash out on one of her many beautiful works of art for sale in the Outsider Art Fair going on Sunday afternoon. Her table definitely drew me the most. I can easily say that I wouldn’t mind owning anything she made. I hope she and Mark have safe travels (I certainly don’t envy them their 24 hour journey back home to Australia).

Now that I’m not an Artiscape newbie anymore, I can’t wait for next year. My kudos to Joe and Joe and the rest of the planning committee for all their hard work. I may consider volunteering, but I still want to make sure I can take some classes, so we’ll have to see.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Race Day & Earth Day

Friday April 21, 2017
Tonight after work Andrew and I ran our first spring and evening 5k. One of my Bucket List items is to run a 5k in all 4 seasons. So far we’ve run one spring race, one summer race, and two autumn races. We have yet to tackle the less desirable winter race. This year a 5k was held in Dublin before the annual parade on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Okay, so that’s pretty much the end of winter, it’s still technically winter, so it counts! Maybe next year….

Anyway, as per usual there was a good turnout for the race with over 200 participants (it’s a rather small neighborhood race), most who completed the race. Not surprisingly Andrew finished before me at just over 29 minutes while I came in a little later at around 36 minutes. That might be my fastest time yet, though I haven’t kept very good records. I probably could have come in a little faster had I not walked part of the course (towards the end). Once I got closer to the finish line and could see the end in sight, I put on the speed so I could finish with a respectable time.

Luckily we don’t live too far away from Ridgewood Elementary School (which was where the race both started and ended) as we were both pretty shattered after the race. Walking back we discussed the race and aren’t sure we’ll do it again next year. It’s kind of one of those things, ‘Been there, done that.’ Andrew was disappointed there was no bottle of wine or even a cupcake food truck to reward ourselves afterwards, so we just raided our own cupboard (freezer) instead.

Saturday April 22, 2017

I had forgotten it was Earth Day. Thanks for the text with the photo from the Science march Leslie! I feel bad that I don’t have much of a social conscience, and I didn’t even know if they were having a march in Columbus (though Andrew said they probably did). I will definitely head downtown if they have a march to protest cutting funds to the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). However, as Andrew reminded me, the Science march was more important since those are global issues that affect all of our lives on a daily basis. Good point. Perhaps next year Andrew and I will pencil in some time to attend one or two of these rallies.

My one token Earth Day gesture was when I took three shirts to H & M at our local mall to donate for their clothing drive. The clothes are shipped to a distribution center where they’re separated by the condition of the clothing. That which is still in pretty good shape is earmarked for resale, while the poorer quality goods are put in a separate pile to be broken down and the fibers used for various purposes. That was about the quality of my shirts – two white work shirts somewhat stained and an old white concert t-shirt that had gone all yellow. You could probably dye the other two and they’d be okay, but the t-shirt was probably a lost cause.

Meanwhile, my husband Andrew is busy with a new hobby (besides playing with his new VR system), and that’s learning how to operate and fly a drone for a company competition coming up next month. He did a demo for me and hasn’t since been able to get it to fly again. I guess they’re delicate little creatures (at least this variety) since he didn’t hit anything too hard. It was interesting putting on the goggles so you get a drone’s eye view of the world. I know it would definitely take a lot of practice to learn how to control one of those things as I’m not sure my hand eye coordination is all that good. Either way, I hope he’s successful getting his drone to fly again so he can participate in the competition (tentatively scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend, sorry Mom!).

Well, that’s about all my news from the weekend. Looks like a glorious week of warm weather ahead, so blue skies abound. Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Has Finally Arrived in Central Ohio!

Saturday April 8, 2017
Happy Birthday Colin! Today my father-in-law turned 78 and I was told they went to the city centre to see the new stained glass window in the cathedral. Sounds like as good an excuse as any to go out. Meanwhile, I was out running errands all over town including stops at two different grocery stores to stock up on Cream of Wheat. Marc’s is the only store in town that still carries banana flavored Cream of Wheat, so I went and bought a few boxes along with a few other items.

From there I went to The Andersons, which is closing in May (and is quite obvious once you enter the store and see all the empty shelves). I wanted to stock up on Cinnabon flavored Cream of Wheat. Yes, I suppose I could just add tons of cinnamon and some sugar to achieve the same flavor (which I guess I’ll have to do once I run out). I also checked out the wine selection and bought a few on sale. Our wine rack is now more or less fully stocked (with mostly whites).

After lunch I drove over to Grandview to visit my favorite (and only) used camera shop called World of Used Photography. I had a small bag of items to sell (a couple slide viewers, some knick-knacks and expired (refrigerated) film. All total I was offered $20 and we ended up doing an even trade for a movie camera I kind of fancied. I assured Andrew that I am not planning on starting a collection of those. I also struck a deal to sell a gigantic projection screen we bought off of Craig’s List a couple years ago. It’s such a huge and heavy item that we can’t see ever wanting to set it up because of the hassle, so I guess we’ll stick with my little yellowed and torn one. Hence, I am happy to hand it off in a couple weeks.

My last errand was to Acorn Books, which is one of only a few independent bookstores in central Ohio. I’ve only ever been in there perhaps a half a dozen times, but I almost always find something interesting and this time was no exception. I had a few books I thought they might be interested in, so we did an even trade for my two books for one of theirs ($8). That’s still probably tons more than Half Price Books would offer (last time I got $10 for a whole box of books & misc items), so I happily accepted.

Sunday April 9, 2017
Today Andrew and I drove to the Gateway Film Center to see the U.S. release of the hottest anime film since I don’t know what, called “Your Name.” Picture a “Quantum Leap” and “Lake House” mash-up and you have “Your Name.” A girl called Mitsuha who lives in a small lakeside town and a boy from Tokyo called Taki, start switching bodies as a comet is hurtling towards earth. For Mitsuha this appears to run in the family I think. The only problem is, once they’re back in their own body again, they have no memory of what the other person did, which comes off as amnesia to their friends and family. Somewhere along the line (I am unclear of the exact details since I may or may not have drifted off after having too many syrupy waffles for brunch) Taki and Mitsuha learn that Mitsuha’s town will be destroyed after the comet splits causing several natural disasters to engulf her town. The rest of the film is about their quest to warn the townspeople so they can be evacuated to the local high school far enough away from the disaster zone. I can’t really say any more than this without spoilers, but suffice it to say I was riveted up until the very end. Afterwards I felt both sad and happy and haven’t stopped thinking about the film. I definitely plan to acquire a copy on blu-ray or dvd later, and maybe the soundtrack too.

Looking ahead at the weather forecast for the week, it looks like spring has finally sprung here in central Ohio, so hopefully more blue skies ahead! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Husband, My Hero!

I am really lucky to be married to Andrew for many reasons. Here are just a few….  

He’s a good listener. No matter how many times I feel like a broken record complaining about work, he sits patiently and waits until I am done before offering a sympathetic word or hug (much needed!). All the while he rarely complains about how much he hates his job (or at least the current project he’s working on).
I think he made that pie
He’s the Head Chef and I am his Sous Chef (and Menu creator). He’s quite happy to make dinner most nights so I can go the gym after work and still have dinner on the table at a reasonable hour. I definitely eat better because he cooks. Otherwise I would probably live on micromeals, soup, salad and sandwiches.

He’s happy enough to wash the dishes (those that don’t go in the dishwasher) on nights (and sometimes days) when I’m too busy to do them. It’s an on and off thing, but it’s nice to know he has my back there.

He also doesn’t mind doing laundry and will even fold my socks and other unmentionables (and I sometimes do the same for him). I’ve heard from other wives that their husbands don’t mind doing laundry either. Not sure why that is, but it’s definitely a good thing! It’s one of my favorite chores we do together since we usually listen to comedy programs on NPR while folding, and sometimes our kitty, Tamsin joins us providing us with lots of laughs.
Tamsin sitting on a pile of my scarves
I know there’s a lot of give and take in marriage, and you’re not supposed to keep score. I think we’re fairly even most of the time, though I’m sure we both have days when we think the other is slacking. However, we both love each other lots and lots, so at the end of the day that’s all that matters. I feel really lucky to be married to Andrew, and I know my family and friends agree with me.

Have a great week everyone!