Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menucha Productivity: Art, Friends and Eating.

The Menucha weekend looked to be very productive for everyone. It is always interesting to walk around the room and watch the creativity unfold. Some come with a plethora of projects to work on, some come with a few goals to accomplish and others might work on one project with multiple items all weekend. Whatever the case, it is all very interesting as they are being created. Attached are 4 items I finished this weekend from Menucha starts. I have more to come and if you'd like to see more check out Here

The fun comes in both the art and the friends. There is a lot of fun talk and laughter going on around the room. Some of our friends come more for the social nature of the weekend. Many like to spend their time talking to the group in a more comprehensive way. While others listen to conversations from a far and socialize at meals.

Oh, did I mention meals? The meals come at regular intervals-breakfast, lunch and dinner and we get two of each on our weekend. It seems to me that we've only just eaten when the next meal bell rings.

It is a weekend filled with friends, art and togetherness.

I can't decide which to choose, which one do you think best applies to the group?

Create, Eat, Create, Eat, Create, Eat, Create, Sleep, Repeat.
Create, Talk, Laugh, Create, Eat, Create, Talk, Laugh, Eat, Create, Laugh, Laugh, Sleep, Repeat.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Art Retreat Weekend

We had our annual Portland Art Collective spring retreat this weekend at the Menucha Center in the Columbia Gorge.

Beauty outside:

A labyrinth nestled in the forest for a little centering:

And beauty inside.

The beginning of Cynthia's prayer flags:

Tammy's book art:

Debi's doodle painting:

Jennifer's metal hearts:

The beginning of Stephanie's puppet theatre:

Sometimes all you can do is count your blessings.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Favorite Art Books

Our question this month was "What are your 3 favorite art books?" Since everyone moaned so much about having to limit their choice to three, we will probably be revisiting this question frequently.


It's hard to choose three favorite art books when I have many favorites. The book that started my creative journey 11 years ago is Julia Cameron's The Artist Way. I took a twelve week course using her book and exercises to direct and inspire my creative life.

A book I refer to for how-to ideas is Traci Bautista's Collage Unleashed. It's full of her creative painting, layering, printing, lettering, stitching and book binding instructions.

My third book is Randi Feuerhelm-Watts' Wide Open- inspiration & techniques for art journaling on the edge. I like decks of cards about as much as books. I've used her notebook and 50 cards to create journal pages with different backgrounds, my photographs, tape, line and language.


1. "True Colors: A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals" by Kathryn Bold. This one first opened my eyes to the possibilities of mixed media art, and working with color. Probably the art book I've looked at the most. An amazing pool of talent here.

2. "Bead on a Wire: Making Hand Crafted Wire and Bead Jewelry" by Sharilyn Miller. My first experiences with wire jewelry making were in Sharilyn's classes. I have a lot of wire jewelry books but this one is the best, IMO.

3. "Cover to Cover: Creative Techniques for Making Beautiful Books, Journals, and Albums" by Shereen LaPlantz. Inspirational and informative. A classic.


I have so many juicy, delicious art books how in the world can I choose just three? (In fact, I will cheat just a tad and say that Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is my very most favorite and changed my life - put me on course to call myself an artist, but that is another story . . . ) The three I chose to share here are three that I pulled off my bookshelves because they all are inspiring, colorful, and offer good tips about making art, especially in visual journals, one of my artistic loves. Here they are, in no particular order:

Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself by Sabrina Ward Harrison

Wide Open (Creativity Notebook and Card Set) by Randi Feuerhelm-Watts

True Vision: Authentic Art Journaling by LK Ludwig


Oh, out of a lifetime library of 300+ art "how to", history and studies, how can I pick out 3 favorites?? So, here are three of my interests, among many.

I love Southwestern art, the colors and designs. The book "The Radiances of My People" by R.C. Gorman is a beautiful book of drawings, as well as a history of the Native American man that was such a beloved artist.

Another love of mine is Asian art, and the book "UKIYO-E, 50 years of Japanese art" is a beautiful big book full of the types of Asian art I enjoy. I like to involve a touch of Asian design in collage and other pieces.

My third and possibly the most beloved interest is fabric art, fibers, weaves, prints, natural and synthetic's. The art projects presented using fibers, in any form, is endless. With that in mind, I was unable to pick out a favorite, but a great book, helpful and well written is "Complex Cloth" by Jane Dunnewold.


When I consider a book to be a favorite it is judged on several attributes, content, ease in use and quite often portability.

“The Encyclopedia of Watercolour Techniques” by Hazel Harrison. This book is a little less than 200 pages but packs a punch with a tip or technique on all aspects of painting. It has a wide variety of different styles and will show you many of the endless ways of applying paint to paper with the knowledge that there is no wrong way. If I could only keep a few painting books this would be one of them.

“The Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette” This little book is not great or big only 65 pages. I have owned this book for over 12 years and seem to pull it out several times a year and always pack it for a camping trip. It just gives you a little spark on shape or color and that’s all you need sometimes.

“Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet“ By Mary Hettmansperger The author describes her jewelry as rustic, altered and organic, my favorite kind of art. Her instructions are easy to follow using materials that are not hard to obtain and techniques that don’t require expensive tools. I have noticed that most all of the jewelry art classes offered recently use the techniques in this book so it is handy to use as a reminder or reference.


My favorite art books are:

Interior Alchemy (Secrets to Creating Expressive Ambience) by Rebecca Purcell

An orgy of decorating and design ideas! This book inspires me to use pieces created by my favorite artists to decorate my home.

Art Making - Collections and Obsessions by Lynne Perella

I love to collect, and this book is eye candy for those days that I need to stay home and create.

Living the Creative Life (Ideas and Inspirations for the Working Artist) by Rice Freeman Zachary

Wonderful suggestions for overcoming creative blocks, prioritizing your art, and thoughts from other artists about creativity.


I like the Mary Todd Beam books, "Celebrate your Creative Self" and "The Creative Edge." In addition, I liked "Art Escapes" by Dory Kanter. All three are books I would call "Techniques Books." I like to read through them and take one of the projects and incorporate the techniquw into what I do. It's all about playing. Many techniqes have been sucessfully merged.


Essential for me is "The Artist's Way", but since that's already been mentioned, I'm going for three more. I'm narrowing my choices down to favorite fiber arts books:

"Stitch Magic: Ideas and Interpretations" by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. They are the queens of taking the hand stitch to a new level. I love how they take a common stitch and show how much variety you can get out of it by altering the stitch or the materials.

"Connecting Art to Stitch" by Sandra Meech. A beautiful book for showing connections between fine art and stitching with good design exercises.

"Symphonic Poem: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson." I love her expressive, intuitive artwork. She uses fiber for storytelling and often incorporates found objects in her pieces.


I have an enormous art/craft library and trying to pick just three is difficult, so here are just

the three I had to choose for this question. (I can name a TON more!)

Of the ninety books on beads and beadwork I have in my library, the one I turn to the most

is Lark Books "500 Beaded Objects". This book is a kaleidoscope of color, texture, technique

and BEADS! It shows marvelous works of bead artists from the U.S. and Canada. To quote

the back cover, "Fine artists worldwide have discovered the spectacular range of expressive

effects that can be achieved with beadwork. This remarkable showcase of gallery-quality

works - including jewelry, sculpture, wall hangings, and many other types of beaded objects -

will excite collectors, inspire craftspeople, and delight anyone who loves art."

I love my beads and I love this book!

When I need an idea for building a new book and how I can put that book together, I always

grab Shereen LaPlantz's "Cover to Cover". I recommend this book to anyone who is just

starting out or is an experienced bookbinder. There are color examples of the books she has

made for this book and black and white step by step instructions on how to make them. She

gives you the bookbinding basics and then goes on to show pamphlet stitch, basic codex,

different stitches, stab bindings and more. Interspersed throughout the book are beautiful

pictures of other artist's books, and these ain't like the books on your grandma's bookshelf!

My newest found favorites is Bee Shay's "Collage Lab". "Collage Lab is structured to encourage the building of a visual vocabulary by working through the fifty-two labs comprising twelve units." Each unit consists of four to five labs to work out what works or doesn't in each unit. Unit 1 is Building the Foundation, Unit 5 is about Surface Design, Unit 8 is all about Paper Play. If you are not sure how or what you can collage, this book is for you. It's all about play and experimentation. There are a number of good ideas in this book to try for your own collages. also has a piece in the gallery section from one of our very own members, Jan Harris.


The Creative License by Danny Gregory because it is great for helping you find a way to make time to be creative.

I do love The Artist's Way for the same reasons. But it is best to work through it with a group, I think.

Gwen Diehn's The Decorated Page. This is one of the first books that I found on artful journaling, and it is still very relevant. It really got my juices flowing for making and keeping journals.

We all love new art books, so let us know what some of your favorites are!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Portland Art Collective Giveaway

Here's our May Portland Art Collective giveaway donated by Paula McNamee. Please comment on this blog post to win a crochet-wire, beaded necklace. The necklace measures 16 inches, made of 28 gauge wire, a variety glass beads and Dupioni silk ribbon.
Close up of beads and wire clasp.
To win, post a comment on this post and the winner will be announced the end of May. Thanks for participating and look forward to our monthly giveaways.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exciting Giveaway News!

Beginning in May we will be offering a giveaway on our blog every month featuring a different artist from Portland Art Collective. The announcement will come on the second Friday of the month along with details, including the name of the artist who has generously offered the month's giveaway and what it is she is gifting to the lucky winner. At the end of each month the winner will be randomly selected and announced on this blog. What you can do to be eligible for the drawing is to comment on the post about the giveaway. PAC members will not be eligible for the drawing, but can spread the word about our blog and encourage others to leave comments! Friday will be our first announcement. It's a good one so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Product Review--New Art Journals

With all our talk about art journals lately, these came at an appropriate time. I received a sneak peek of a new art journal put out by Strathmore and am thrilled with them.

They come in 3 sizes 3.5"x5", 5.5"x8", and 9"x12", and each size comes in a range of papers including heavy drawing paper, Bristol, 90 lb. watercolor or 140 lb. watercolor. You can tear off the cover sheet you see above to have a nice brown journal. The front and back covers are both heavy board, perfect for splashing on paint or collage. And the spiral is thick and strong. If you like to get messy in a journal and glue and paint, check these out. They'll be in stores in June.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Artist Profile--Jan Harris

Our featured artist this month is Jan Harris. Jan does exquisite pieces in a wide range of materials, often using nature as her muse. She is also a wonderful teacher who teaches classes both locally and internationally. Check out her blog to learn more.

1. What are the main mediums you use? What do you find satisfying about them?

I love to work in multiple medias and find ways to use them together. Currently my focus is on painting and encaustic, using water soluble grounds, water media and collage under wax, with encaustic enhancement to create a finished piece. But I also have a love for silversmithing and creating eclectic jewelry pieces from odd bits and pieces, as well as glass beads.

2. If someone were going to get started in those mediums, what suggestions would you give?

Classes, classes and classes from a variety of instructors and find your own path from what you learn! But I also have an extensive library of books because that's what I turn to when I am burning the midnight oil and need a bit of assistance. Don't pay a lot for your art materials and tools until you are sure it is a media you will stay with. There are always cheap alternatives out there for the art materials we use.

3. A perfect art day would look like .....

well, actually, since I have a day job to pay the mortgage LOL, my art days are mostly art "nights" where I turn off the phones, crank up the music and sit down and lose myself in a project.

4. Do you have dedicated studio space?

I started out with a space in the garage for my metal work and a converted bedroom for painting, but after my son moved out, I reconsidered that a living room has to be a living room and a kitchen has to be a kitchen. Especially when it is cold and raining and I am freezing cold while I work in the garage. Now I tell folks that ask that I have a bedroom in my studio, with art making having spread to almost every room in the house. For someone with a reduced amount of time to work on art, I find it important to ensure that I will need little preparation work to sit down and work on a project.

5. Favorite place you've visited or lived?

That's such a hard question for me. Traveling is my second passion and I have travelled extensively across the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, Bahamas and Australia. I am completely in love with Australia. The sounds, smells and sights are exotic and yet the people are much like us in the states. There are entire areas in Melbourne decorated with the most amazing graffiti and there is artwork almost everywhere you look. Mexico was amazing in its colors. Everywhere you look, the colors of the rainbow are reflected back at you and inspire my art. And everywhere I have traveled, I have been inspired by local art and culture. But as for places to live, I have to say my heart belongs to the Portland, OR area.

--One of Jan's art gourds:

6. What inspires you (or are there recurring themes in your work)?

Most of my art has a natural theme. I have always felt close to nature and participate in activities that bring me closer to nature. I am also fascinated with religious icons and cultures. The mixing and combining of color often allows me to express emotion and feeling in my work.

7. I still struggle with ....

defining myself as an artist and staying within a theme of work or one medium. I love to create and often jump from media to media which prevents me from definitively stating who I am as an artist. I struggle, too, with accepting the title of artist when so much of my life is focused away from the arts. In this, I continue to seek a pathway that will lead me closer and closer to making art my sole source of income and career so I am allowed the time to focus and increase my abilities and success as an artist.

8. I'd be lost without ....

the support of my artist community and the encouragement I receive from my friends. Many times I have considered giving up on art and they have always been there to motivate me and cheer me on. I hope I do the same for them.

9. Favorite dessert?

Dangerous question for me!! I don't think I have ever met a dessert I didn't current love is smoked salt chocolate caramels from Fran's in Seattle.

10. What's on the horizon?

After a disasterous year, last year, I realized that there are no guarantees in life, which makes the prospect of taking risks less scary and the chance of success more optomistic. So, I have designated this year to making a jump into art as a primary career focus. Teaching more, making more art and promoting myself in the art community. I have always been shy in introducing myself as an artist and I want to move past that to a confidence in representing myself as a creator of art worthy to share with others. To that end, I gave my business card to a business owner in Sassafras, Australia who promptly told me my art was beautiful and would I be interested in a show that was upcoming in his area. That is the stuff of dreams.

Jan recently documented her trip to Australia on her blog, you can follow her adventures and see more of her artwork here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

More Journal Pages to Share

A calendar art journal helps to chronicle art work, activities and books read each month.

Travel journals remind me of where I've been and what I experienced on a trip- seeing a page brings back memories that fill my senses. This is a map of a day spent in Teotitlán del Valle near Oaxaca, Mexico.
Adding wallet-size photos to journal pages adds color and a sense of place. I used to get these prints made at a local drug store from my camera memory card. Now, I use my Pogo printer.

Here's an example of using my idea book to explore a new project and generate ideas.

Making the journals is as much fun as keeping a journal. The one above is one I made taking "Remains of the Day" shabby journal online class with Mary Ann Moss. Check out Teesha's blog to see how to make the fabric pillow journal below.
Another journal I keep is my blog to record and share my art and travel experiences. Check it out Here.