May 22, 2016

Hello Friend

"Hello Friend"
5" x 7" Top Fold Greeting Card
Blank Inside

The "Hello Friend" greeting card was extra fun to make probably because of the unique die from Cheery Lynn Designs.  The die information is "Screen Door with Cat" #A2164. I chose to use real birch wood veneer for the screen door.  

As the wood is very, very thin, there is no problem cutting the image. The die actually comes packaged with 2 pieces of screen and extra screens are available through the site.  I took a look at our local Home Depot store and found this gauge of screen available by the foot.  Since I usually do produce several of any one given card design, Home Depot was a good way to go for me, bringing the cost down considerably. To add depth and the appearance of an interior, a green and white striped patterned paper is used behind the screen and cat.  While this addition looks fairly simple, there is a trick to layering all of the pieces securely to the reverse side of the door.  I used 1/8 inch score tape and adhered each layer separately. 

Estate Fence die #98285 by Memory Box is utilized to give the background some interest.  I attempted to find this die on the website's product index and it looks as if it is no longer available.  Not to worry, I have seen many variations of the estate fence available through most of the popular companies offering paper crafting dies.

Last but not least is the greeting "Hello Friends" from the Cuttlebug Friends Forever Embossing Folder and Dies.  I had a difficult time locating this set but finally found it on an Etsy site and you can get there from HERE.  

All cardstock used in the card is Bazzil Bling which has a pearly shimmer not picked up well in this photo and the base is Hammermill 100# Digital Color Copy paper.

Oh, almost forgot, I chose a Swarovski flat back crystal to dot the "i" on "friend".  That should do it.

If you don't want to duplicate "Hello Friend"  yourself,  there will be six available later in my Etsy store at Crane Island Comforts on Etsy.

Thanks for stopping by!

May 15, 2016

Spotlight on Artist Mica Still

Napier, New Zealand

Mica Still, a fabulous artist currently living in  New Zealand, is known for her outdoor street art and she works BIG! Formerly a resident of Astoria, Oregon, Mica (known as Michelle locally), is the daughter of Nickie Piippo.  Nickie is the past owner for many years of Paper Moon, a local paper arts store. So as one might see from the images above and below, artistic talent runs in the family.

The wall in the picture above  depicts the current crisis of the oceans'  inhabitants becoming entangled in abandoned fishing nets  and other debris which usually leads to death.  Mica was among a select group of artists invited to participate in this world wide awareness project with this focus displayed in Napier, New Zealand.

This piece was completed on a wall in Auckland, New Zealand.  I apologize for the quality of the photo but you can really get the size and scale of Mica's artwork.

While Mica was here in Astoria for the holidays a few months ago, she was asked to create a mural on a truck owned by her uncle's construction company. It was my great pleasure to be able to see Mica at work.  With her only tool being artist quality spray paints she purchased locally from Dots n' Doodles Art Supply, Mica set to work on a very cold winter day.  And...

this is the result of her efforts!

We are amazed with  Mica (Michelle) and her body of work done on an international scale. She's one Astoria can be proud of!

Apr 19, 2016

Robin's Heart

Robin's Heart was a project of love for my sister Robin.  Hearts are one of her favorites and the feather represents our mother who passed away several years ago.  Please excuse the background shine, I neglected to take a final photo before I had the piece matted and shrink wrapped in preparation for shipping.

I'd like to share the process of how this came together for those who are interested.

The tangle I used to morph into a heart is "Grace" by Helena. It's a tricky little beast!  All I can say about the pattern is to tackle two or three hearts in the chain at a time to achieve the 3-D effect.  I started this one twice to get it right. I used a Micron .01 to draw the hearts after first drawing a penciled in heart shape first.

This photo shows the pattern completed with color, shading and highlights added. I used my favorite colored pencils, Caran d'Ache Luminance colored pencils.  They really take the color layers beautifully without a waxy bloom.  Seven colors were used so achieve the dominant color and shading.  You can see the feather design sketched in the middle getting ready to add color.

Feather has been added and now we're ready for the background!

Concentration! The tangle pattern used for the background is "Y-Ful Power" by Soshi. Click on this link for the step-out.  The pattern is started with an offset grid drawn in pencil.  If you look at the step-out this will make more sense.  I drew the entire grid in pencil first and then started the pattern, only doing one small section at a time. Again I used a Micron .01 for the pattern lines. Next came the shading, I use a 4B graphite pencil and a paper blending stub for detail.  For the shadow I still went for a 4B but applied a much denser layer of graphite before blending.

So there it is! I'd be happy to answer any questions about this piece or tangled inspired art in general, just leave me a comment and I promise to get back to you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Aug 19, 2014


 Mixed Media
21 x 15"
Strathmore Smooth Bristol Board

This is a piece I recently completed with the hopes of gaining more experience with colored pencils.  This is a new medium for me even though I purchased Faber-Castell Polychromos some time ago and added Caran d'Ache Luminance pencils for this project, I have completed only one other piece and used a very limited palette.  I really wanted to practice layering and shading and include other mediums in the mix.

Because this was more about color application and I didn't want to think about design, I dowloaded one of Ben Kwok's wonderful templates from the Facebook Ornation Creation group page and enlarged it at a local print shop.  The image itself measures 15 x 11".  I found out this was quite a bit of real estate to cover, this took about 45 hours to complete!
 Detail of center.

Detail of Golden Interference Orange Fluid Acrylic Paint
The interference paint in some areas really made things pop.  From one angle the paint appears orange and from the opposite angle it appears teal.  The little ovals all around the edge and the swirl in the center were painted with Golden Iridescent Copper Light. This photo also shows the need for mastering the waxy bloom of layering colored pencils.  Even with the use of Gamsol between some of the layers, my heavier dark color application at the end produced bloom.  Gotta work on that!

Speaking of layers,the following shots show the progression of color application which began with a light wash of Daniel Smith Hansa Yellow Light watercolor and then worked up from there with the Caran d'Ache Luminence colored pencils.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mar 16, 2014


14 X 17"  On Bristol Vellum
Colored Pencil , Ink , Graphite & Gold Leaf

This piece was a request from my daughter for my grand-daughter's birthday in May.  It was also my first experiment on Bristol vellum with colored pencils.  I love working with the Faber Castell Polychromos, layer upon layer of shading and texture.  It's a workout on the hands though!  Micron pens .05 and .01 were used on the ribbon.  The ribbon was a challenge, I actually had about eight hours into this piece before I put it aside and started over from scratch.  The ribbon was just not working and there are a few things I learned in the process that I will put into practice when I include a tangled ribbon in future projects. Helen Williams' e-book available on her blog A Little Lime, was a tremendous help.

All shading outside of the ribbon, "N" and goldfinch was done with 2B, 6B and 8B graphite pencils and a paper stub. One thing I'd like to pass on and which was new to me; when using a blending stub it's good to sand the end frequently so the colored pencil doesn't build up on the end of the stub making blending of the graphite far more difficult.  I couldn't help touching the edge of the colored pencil area as I was adding my shadows and noticed problems as I tried to blend the graphite.

Lastly, I just had to add some gold leaf in a few spots and was very happy with the outcome.  Another word of caution about the gold leaf sizing on paper.  Give it plenty of time to dry!  If you smear it outside of the desired area you get to spend some really anxious moments gently removing it from the paper with an Xacto knife!

Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 9, 2014

Zendala Dare #88

Zendala Dare #88

This is my first completed Zendala Dare; template is available through The Bright Owl.  The templates are outline zendalas ready to download, print and tangle.  I think the most amazing thing about this process is the zendala you start with sometimes ends barely resembling the original.  And the tangles create the magic with color placement.  

If you compare the original template #88 from The Bright Owl, you can see the dramatic difference just in the addition of three tangle patterns with the picture below.

There are only three tangle patterns used here; Paradox, Girders (used in the center) and a fan type fill I used at the top of each segment. Paradox is available here on YouTube.  Paradox provides many varied and interesting results based on the shape you start with.  If this statement sounds confusing, watch the video and it will become more clear.  I started thinking I was going to apply color in a certain way and when I set the piece down and then walked by it later, the sections popped out at me in a completely different way.  So that's what I went with.

After printing the zendala outline on an ink jet printer, I used Canson semi-transparent marker paper as an overlay and traced the zendala in non-photo blue pencil.  After all of the tangle patterns were added I photo copied the piece onto Xpress It Cardstock (specifically made for Copics) and added my color.  I also applied the same color technique to the Canson which works very nicely and saves a photocopy step.  Both papers are great with inks.  

Color was applied with Copic markers:  R22, R24, R29, BG10, BG13, BG25, V12, V15, V17, YR21, YR23, YR24 with warm grays in W1, W3, W5 and W7.

Tangles patterns drawn with a Micron .01 pen.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jan 29, 2014

Ikea Kitchen Carts for Your Studio

Ikea Kitchen Carts for Your Studio

The Raskog Kitchen Carts available at Ikea are fantastic movable storage for your work area or studio.  I've been asked about these so many times, most recently on Facebook, that I thought I would show everyone how I use them and how fantastic they are.

The photos below are close to a year old and since then I've added a wooden table (and lots of other stuff) to my studio, replacing the Costco folding table I worked on for years.  The carts work great alongside both setups.

This is a photo of the "dry" work area of the studio and the floor is carpeted.  The carts roll around with no problem, even fully loaded.

The hanging containers really serve to expand the storage of these carts and can actually be hung on all four sides and all three levels.  Here's a link to one of the styles I also found at Ikea in the kitchen gadget area. They are so inexpensive you can really go wild!

I live in a small coastal town on the Oregon coast and its a two hour drive to Portland and the nearest Ikea.  So a friend of mine and I took orders from our friends and did a road trip to Ikea one Saturday last winter. We came back with a car full of carts!
Thankfully all of this is available online but we figured our fuel and lunch would cost less than the shipping!

Since establishing a "wet" area in my studio, I've moved one of the carts beside the easel so it now holds only paints, brushes and mediums.  I'm thinking I need a third cart to fill the space I moved this one from.  Yes?

Thanks for stopping by, if you have any questions, leave a comment below.


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