Tuesday, April 24, 2012


We had a great time at the wire wrapped earrings class that I taught at The Waygoose Redux last week. Here are a few photos from the class:

And here are a few of the finished earrings. I think everyone did a great job! I'm looking forward to teaching more classes at the Waygoose Redux.
This past Sunday, I got to be the student at an Eucaustics Wax class at The Muse.  Margaret Hulch taught "Encaustics - Tissue Paper & Pastels".  Encaustic is a method of collaging using hot wax.

Whitney and her Mom

Me and my sister

My sister Renee and I had a wonderful time creating and even had time to head out to dinner at Isabella's Tavern after the class.

Today, I am busy creating jewelry in my studio. I'll post some new photos as soon as I get a chance.

"Do good things. Have good luck." by Madi

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dangle Earrings

Sand Dollar Earrings

Flip Flop Earrings

Silver Leaf Earrings

Had fun making earrings last week. Dangle seems to be the theme here. Tomorrow I am making a whole new batch of silver pieces.  Excited!

"The breeze is a wind of passion." by Madi

Friday, April 13, 2012

Handmadeology Live Auction!

Handmadeology is looking for handmade and vintage items for their up coming live auction.  Handmadeology has teamed with Tophatter for this event.
Handmadeology’s Live Auction Auction | April 19, 5pm PT
To find out more information and submit your products, click here.

Sounds like a great opportunity! I'm off to submit my handcrafted jewelry!

"Shine your star." by Madi

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The big 50!

Yep, I just turned the big 50. Yesterday I spent my big birthday with my good friends and family. The day was just perfect. I started the day with a Starbucks Mocha in bed opening gifts from my family while my dog chewed up the wrapping paper.  My hubby bought me a new pair of fluffy UGG slippers, my son the Adele 19 CD, and my daughter Zoe chocolate. What could be better?

Then I went to lunch with my two dear friends, Allison and Kathy. We were missing another dear friend, Rene who was in Pittsburgh with her family. Allison, Kathy and Rene put together this awesome basket full of 50 presents!!! I get to open one present a day for the next 50 days! How fun is that!?  Here's today's gift:
I'm sure I'll get great use out of this gift! As a matter of fact, I'm using it right now as I write this post. So those of you that are on your way to the big 50, you will survive!!  I'm hoping that my 50's are as good as my 40's and maybe even a little better!

"Life is like a staircase, go one step at a time." by Madi

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little by little

Up to Week 7 in Life Book...only 7 weeks behind the class! Oh well, I'm having a blast so that's all that counts. This lesson was called "Little by Little" and was taught by Connie Hozvicka with Dirty Footprints Studio.

It was a great lesson about creating a home for your dreams. Our instructions were to create a house and fill the back of the house with all of our dreams. Here's the kicker...then we threw the house away! What? Well, Connie's philosophy is that sometimes we hold on to our dreams so tight that they actually get in the way of achieving them.  What she suggests is clearly stating your dreams and then letting them go. Connie feels that this way we have the space to enjoy and appreciate the little achievements along the way.

What do you think of this idea? Any thoughts? Anyone else want to give it a try?

"Grow everyday." by Madi

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finally a day of art!

I finally had a day to spend in my studio playing! I did week 6 of Life Book with Tamara Laporte. This lesson was called "paint over collage". I did a similar lesson with Tam last year in 21 Secrets. I really enjoyed the whole process. Here is my before collage:
And the after...
It was a great project, using paints, paint pens, watercolor pencils and other fun art supplies. I used some of Madi's quotes around the circle. This weeks lesson was all about honoring our achievements however big or small.

I also had the chance to work on my handwritten note for the Note Swap through the Art House Co-op.

 It's a note swap with other artists around the world. Here's the info:
Trade handwritten notes across the globe
The Note Swap is a worldwide exchange of handwritten letters, contributed by a thousand creative people just like you. Join our community to swap surprises in the mail and take part in an experiment designed to make a stranger's day. Scribble down a love note, a short story, a recipe, a memory, a joke or a secret — your letter could take any form. Simply mail your note to us along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. We'll make the swap and send you another participant's letter in return. Waiting for the mail can be the best part of your day...

The Note Sway is open until April 30th so you still have time to join. Hope you had a creative day!

"Art is the best medicine." by Madi

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Laurie Jess - Artist of the Month

"The Messenger" by Laurie Jess
I met this month's artist, Laurie Jess, while taking the online art class Life Book. I was immediately drawn to her use of color and whimsical art style.  She gratefully agreed to be interviewed for my Artist of the Month post.

Laurie grew up as the oldest of 5 girls in Oregon and had the exotic experience of living abroad in Thailand and Malaysia as a teen. Laurie's parents were both educators within the International School systems. This exciting experience greatly influenced Laurie's art as well as her personal life. Opportunities to travel to China while living abroad significantly affected Laurie's life as an adult. She and her husband adopted there beautiful little girl from China.  You can read more about their journey here on her blog.  After adopting their daughter, she and her husband made another life style change and moved to Boulder, Colorado.

Laurie has quite a diverse background in art and a plethora of talents. She began her art career as a High School and Community College Art teacher.  I asked Laurie how she felt about teaching and here is what she had to share:
"The year was 1977, bell bottoms were groovy and my hair was long and straight... oh and I graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Art Education.  I became a High School & Community College Art teacher. This was my path for the next 6 years. I loved being an Art Teacher, it was my dream job. Unfortunately during the 80’s, a new campaign against teaching Art in the public schools began. Art Teaching jobs disappeared and almost became obsolete."

Laurie ended up selling BMW cars to support herself.  Although it wasn't her dream job, she was very successful and met her Danish husband when she sold him a car!

Later Laurie expanded her career to include working for the film and print industry as an artist for DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Disney.

As I stated earlier in the post, I love Laurie's use of color and the magical quality her artwork has.  I asked Laurie what her favorite art mediums and tools are and here is what she shared:

"My favorite art mediums & tools are:
Printmaking, Linocut, Batik wax painting, Prismacolor Pencil, pen & ink, Copic Markers, Golden Acrylic Paint and Watercolors. I also enjoy various mixed media, encaustic bees wax & I’m fascinated by Resin. I have also in the past,  had my own full jewelry line and also made stain glass windows, selling them is how I paid for my college tuition."

"My first love will always be Batik Wax Painting. Before College, I used to work in a very cool Batik factory in Malaysia and that was really where I got to combine my love for the fine arts & crafting all in one medium. That was a very special time & experience for me.   Currently I still enjoy Photoshop & my favorite art software is Corel Painter."
I wasn't sure what Batik wax painting was, so I found this great description of the process on Laurie's flickr photostream
"Batik is a process of painting with hot wax onto cloth & then dipping it into dye baths layer after layer for each color and then the wax is boiled out! The cool effects come from cracked wax & dyes."

You can see more of Laurie's Batik wax paintings by visiting her flickr photostream.

I was fascinated by Laurie's career experience with the film and print industry. Here is what she had to share:

"After going back to college for a 2nd career update (late 90’s) and taking 2 additional years in digital art programs at the University,   I graduated as a Matte Painter & CGI Artist. 

What Luck, I took my newly updated Portfolio and I got hired at DC Comics studio.  DC Comics is owned by Warner Brothers.
WOW, suddenly I was working for a world famous art studio. 
That studio position was in the print industry side of the business. I would later go to work for the film side of that business. Initially I worked under the talented & world famous artist Jim Lee. This studio was secretly located in beautiful La Jolla CA (San Diego). My office overlooked the ocean of La Jolla Shores. Once again I had a dream job & dream location.  We designed a beautiful full color comic book that got published weekly with the help of a very creative art team. During these years, I worked mainly in Photoshop as a Colorist. Jim Lee did all the original artwork & drawings for Superman & Batman (among many other DC characters) and I would color them.
I later moved to Matte Painting over in the film side of that industry. I mostly altered landscapes using Photoshop, blowing up buildings & cool stuff like that for films. "

Laurie now works for herself in her art studio called LaurieJess.com. I asked Laurie how she felt about working on her own now and her is what she had to say:

"As for my art career, I was surprised I actually preferred working for myself in my own little, nothing fancy art studio called “LaurieJess.com”. 
For the first time, I get to have full creative freedom, and when I finish an art piece, I actually get to sign it with my own name. Before, everything I did was property of the studios, I was not allowed to sign anything and my name appeared only at the bottom of a proof sheet.  Nowadays, the projects I work on are carefully selected and I do each one with love. I might design a fabric print, spot illustrations for a book or magazine, and hopefully this year publish a children’s picture book. These are areas I love, and have done before, but this time my name will be on it!" 

This is one of Laurie's projects from our Life Book class. It's a special envelope created for her Life Book that will hold compliments and other positive reminders about her artwork. You can read more about this project and how she created it by reading her blog post here. I'm way behind the power curve for our class. I am looking forward to this project. I love how she created the tree overlapping the envelope flap and the fantastic colors she incorporated into this piece.

In the past, Laurie sold her paintings in several art galleries in Oregon. She recently set up a shop on Etsy, but hasn't started stocking it with her amazing artwork yet because of her busy schedule.  She is working on illustrating a new children's book for a musician, song writer and author, Joan Langford.
Traditional pen and ink with watercolor illustration from "Little Big Britches"

Laurie and her mother worked on a children's book together called "Where in the World with Little Big Britches".  Laurie's mother wrote "a wonderful story about a little boy with magic pockets.  He travels the world each time he reads a book.  New adventures unfold as he visits and learns about new cultures."  So far their book hasn't been published but they are still hoping.  I think that the story idea sounds great! And of course I love the illustrations.  If you'd like to find out more about Little Big Britches, read her blog post here.

I asked Laurie what inspired her to start drawing and creating as well as what inspires her now.  Here is what she had to say:
"People often ask me how I found my path. I think it's a common question because we're all searching for our true passion in life.
My passion is found in exploring art techniques & creating through different art medium, crafts and this includes the digital world too.  When I become proficient in any particular art, it’s time for me to try something new. This challenges my artistic needs, and keeps everything fresh. I think this keeps me balanced, healthy & it makes me a happier human being.  I can’t really explain it, I just know it‘s like a runner’s high for me, not only do I love it, but I need it. Art is in my soul. 
You asked who inspires me.
These are some of the artist & illustrators who influences & inspire me: 
Lizbeth Zwerger, Dr Seuss, David Catrow, Warwick Goble, Franklin Booth, &  Arthur Rackham. 
My all time favorite Painter is Claude Monet, I love his impressionist style. 
Last year, 2011, I took my first ever on-line Mixed Media Art class. I signed up for a full years worth of classes through Wyanne.com. That experience blew me away, I was so impressed at the impact she has had on me, so that experience is still influencing me currently. She is how I heard about the Life Book Class & why I signed up for another years worth of classes with 14 incredible Mixed Media Teachers. At present, 2012, I have allowed myself to be infused with lots of creative art teachers. I hope some of their creativeness rubs off on me, it a fun way to grow as an artist.  I have now taken 16 on-line art classes. This is a whole new exciting effective way to learn.   I will never stop taking art classes, I love it. I may even start teaching again over at my local community Art center or maybe even open my own art center, who knows! I really just don't have enough time in the day to do all the things I love to do."

Laurie wrapped up this interview with these wonderful words of wisdom:
"My thoughts:  I plan to  “be the person I’m best at being”. My philosophy is to try to “remember to be myself, because everyone else is taken”.  Sometimes this can be hard as the internet influences all of our art, it is a subconscious thing. 

It is OK to learn from other artist, I think it is a good thing; many of the old Painting Masters would do that too. They would copy each other as a means to learn. Sometimes I like to copy an old masters Artwork as a means to learn, I think this is OK to do, some will disagree. I actually encourage you to find a favorite art piece that inspires you and copy it. It is a fun way to learn & next time you can make something of your own from what you learned. We all learn from each other as artist and that’s OK! The internet has brought us all together...but I do want to retain a piece of myself too and this is the challenge for all of us! Finding our own special unique self, as we are all created by God. I believe a piece of God lives inside each of us, therefore we must each be magical & powerful creators. Have fun finding yourself through art and discover how empowering it is for your soul!"

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Laurie and her remarkable artwork. To find out more about her, visit her website Laurie Jess.

"Find your inner magic. " by Madi