Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Week and Today...

My Mono Printing Mania
*love, Love, LOVE this tool!*
How very different a day can be, one week apart!  Last Sunday, I hit the road at 10:30am to be in Raleigh (at the lovely and hospitable DiGiulio Studios) for an afternoon of fun with my buddies in the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild.  It was our 3rd Quarter Day of Creative Play; we were to indulge in an afternoon of food, fun, and the fellowship of group creativity.  As they would have said in the small town weekly of my youth "a good time was had by all!"  As a group, the nearly 30 of us on hand enjoyed four (4) brief demonstrations on different *and very fun* art techniques; as individuals, we enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon by trying our hands at each of the workstations.  This is the second year that we have enjoyed such a Mixed Media Round Robin -- and I am fairly certain it won't be the last ;-)

I gave a quick overview of my own accidental discoveries on mono printing; using both my own, homemade alcohol ink sprays and *my newest 'favorite plaything'* the Gelli Arts gel printing plate with basic acrylic paints.  I had several samples in hand, and as I spoke I showed examples of what the different 'tools' I had brought to share yielded in the way of texture and mark-making.  Hard to believe that such simple ingredients can bring forth such varied and colorful results -- but it's true!  The proof is in the printing - ha!

Jeanne's Set-Up for Frisket Fun
Our founder, and master of all things resin, JR, led us through alternate uses for frisket/masking fluid.  Rather than utilizing it merely as a 'masking agent' to preserve the white space beneath *as intended* she showed its fabulous repurposing as a textural ingredient!  With the addition of Jacquard PearlEx powders and Silk Dyes, this rubbery liquid became a magical material -- holding fast the micro-metallic mica of the PearlEx, and adding an easy-to-manipulate dimensional element to vivid washes of color.  

Donna's Scraped Paint Samples
*acrylic alchemy in vivid colors!*
Demonstrating an addictive paint application she learned from L.K. Ludwig, DS introduced us to the beauty of Scraped Paint.  Her workstation was well-populated throughout the afternoon as members visited and experimented with what seems to be acrylic alchemy!  Applying paint in thin layers and lightly adding water made magic, right before our very eyes!  If this sounds like something you might want to try, point your browser to the lovely, online tutorial for more details.  In spite of having sworn off any more 'new things to try' until I get some sort of order imposed, here on the Acre, I must admit to having procured a new set of cheap-o acrylics to more fully explore the boundless potential of this technique.  *ahh, yes!  Temptation, thy name is Jerry's! - lol*

The Big Reveal
*do we look delighted, or what?!?*
Our resident "Material Maven," RLM, delighted us all with fantastical Tie Dying Silk Scarves *nope, that's not a typo -- that's what we did!*  Everyone brought a handful of silk ties as part of our 'tool kit' for the days activities; after following the simple instructions, the results of our own colorful creations stunned us all!  Some sort of chemical reaction involving the aluminum pot, plain white vinegar, and blank silk scarves bound with sections of silk neckties, rolled in muslin, wrought a bevvy of wildly colored scarves.  This activity, alone among the four, required us to wait our turn - as the pot could only accommodate so many scarf rolls at one time.  The wait was well worth it, and the 'reveal' after the required boiling time was as highly anticipated as any reality TV cliffhanger!  The 'ooohs' and 'ahhhs' were audible throughout the neighborhood, I am sure!

There is something very powerful in having such gatherings to look forward to!  I enjoy our monthly meetings and the various other opportunities to take in the artful goodness in and around our community with these amazing, talented, and generous women.  But to have these longer days, and the time to linger... Well, that's a special joy; and one I hope I never take for granted.  It is a rare gift to have such a diverse and supportive group of artists to interact with on a regular basis.  I am constantly amazed by the sheer knowledge of so many different things, the combined experience and wisdom that is housed among our number.  As my Granddaddy would have said, 'I am proud to know them.'  

A Rapt Crowd
*always as eager to share as to learn*
They have all, in their own very different and unique ways, enriched my life in a manner not altogether evident on the surface.  This truth follows me into all that I do - much like a favorite rock or sea-smoothed shell fragment can instantly conjure the memory of when it came to be mine - the lessons they have taught me are like snippets of a song, caught in passing by an open window:  brief, yet poignant; fleeting, yet eternal; personal, yet universal.  Lucky am I.  Special thanks, too, to SD and DA for allowing the day to lengthen into a blissful evening - more good food and easy laughter, tales shared and dreams strengthened!

It was another week on Fast Forward, here!  After that delicious interlude of friendship and creativity, the real world reappeared.  With it's ringing phones, countless questions, trivial frustrations, and "what next?!?" moments, the week had me thinking 'weekend thoughts' by Wednesday!  I made plans to be decadently selfish.  I would paint, fondle paper, dream a bit in my journal, gaze fondly at The Man -- fill the precious weekend *my first full weekend at home in over a month!* with the wants of my heart instead of the needs of 'life in general'.  *Sounds wickedly wonderful, doesn't it?*

My Beloveds
*circa April, 2006*
Instead, I savored the weekend in a different manner -- one that we don't get to enjoy very often:  The Girl came home!  Home, as in our house -- not just 'to town' (i.e. the other house).  While it wasn't what any of us had planned, it was a most wonderful time of togetherness!  Oh, how I miss those days of early morning chats on the way to school, daily updates and the who's, what's, and *incessant* why's of the younger years, lovingly packed lunches with silly notes, and knowing that she was always near.  Friday night found us yammering into the wee hours of Saturday morning; marveling o'er the latest accomplishments, laughing at our own silliness.  Saturday brought the pangs of realization that she is, indeed, growing up and out of her former existence; putting into storage furniture that is beloved, but not necessary in the current living arrangement -- shared memories of long-loved things...  In spite of still missing the little girl that she was, not all that long ago, I am regularly amazed at the confident, focused, and incredible young woman she has become!  Along with all of the good visiting, we managed to take in a movie, too (another rare treat for me and The Man)!

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes was truly amazing.  This was not, however, some new attraction for me. *nay,nay!*  I have loved these movies for a long, looong time -- back in my own days of lunchbox toting, I secretly envied my cousin's Planet of the Apes lunchbox.  In fact, a few years ago, upon acquiring the box set DVDs of the original movies we hosted a gathering based on the movies -- running them all back to back!  Fast-paced, well-acted, and graciously inclusive *with nods to each of the other installments in this franchise,* this incarnation proved to be the perfect outing on a weekend spent in awareness of the nature of change - of the past vs. the future - of where we have been vs. where we are headed.

So, my 'decadent selfishness' eluded me in favor of something sweeter.  Did I paint my Masterpiece?  No...  In truth, I haven't even gotten my hands dirty this weekend.  I was, however, given the opportunity to revel in a creation of a different sort:  the embodiment of giving and receiving that is at the heart of Family.  The full engagement of 'being there' -- no need too small, no memory too distant -- the wonder that comes from living with, and overcoming, all that Life capriciously tosses our way.  Lucky am I, indeed!

Onward & Upward!
 - pla

Words of wisdom for today:*
 "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, you need one."
                                    - Jane Howard

"...You don't choose your family.
They are God's gift to you, as you are to them ."
                                      - Desmond Tutu
Photo Notes: 
     All photos generously provided by D. Sloma and M. Davis Petelinz, with many thanks!
*bonus:  two quotes, today - one for each Sunday!


  1. This is what we mean when we teach about writing from the heart!

    I'm clapping and smiling, most higly impressed. Love this piece, love your voice.


  2. Our creative play days are indeed great opportunities for sharing and creative exploring. Great wrap up, and a welcome reminder that I need to order my very own Gelli mat! Thanks for the post, and for sharing that particular artistic tidbit, Penny!

  3. n_n I am intensely happy that you remember these things as fondly as I do. Much love headed your way.


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