Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Fun, Fond, & Fascinating

After a long week of school district trainings and working in my classroom, I've been able to enjoy sometime in the comfort of my studio this weekend.  It really helps me to keep busy, since not only are my girls gone away to college, but my wife went on a week long business trip.  The dogs, cat, and I miss them all terribly.  May the Lord surround them with his angels of protection wherever they go.  Anyway, this week's projects can all be described with words starting with the letter "F."

Fun Gingerbread Decorations
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Summer
Ramona's Inspire Me Monday - Week 137
Julia's What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #272
Fun Christmas Cards
Freshly Made Sketches #149 by Rita
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Scratched Up
Manon's Paper Saturdays
The first two projects above are what I call plain old fun!  The first photograph features wall decorations I've been working on for my classroom.  Our school theme this year is "One Adventure After Another," so each classroom teacher selected a fairytale or folktale as their inspiration.  I went with the Gingerbread Man.  I will also have each student decorate their own paper gingerbread person to hang around the room.  The second photograph features more Christmas cards I made, since I know I won't have much time to work on them during the school year.  I used an original watercolor painting of mine as the focal point to make a clean card, as well as a vintage looking  card.

A Fond Moment
Alexandra's Sunday Sketches
Illustration Friday - Journey
Jenn's The Artist's Playroom #119
Karen's Word Art Wednesday #146
Eva & Kristin's Paint Party Friday - Week 24 Year 4
The next picture is of a commissioned watercolor piece I'm working on of a fond moment between a mother and daughter.  The friend that asked for the piece gave me an old photograph to use as reference of a time during which her recently deceased Mother was giving her advice about her life's journey.  Their faces and hair are almost done, but I still have a lot of work to do on the clothes, the sofa parts in view, and the background shadowing.  If you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know.  I believe there is always room for improvement, since I consider myself to be in a continue journey with my artwork.

Fascinating Cactus - © Arnoldo L. Romero
Bella's 52 Photos Project - Somewhere You Visited
Denise, Roger & Leslie's ABC Wednesday - F is for Fascinating
Jen's In the Studio
Last, but not least, I have a photograph I took with y iPhone during one of our trips back from College Station, TX, this Summer.  I took it at a state rest stop off of I-10, where they have a short naturally xeriscaped trail.  I find the "Indian Fig Opuntia" a fascinating cactus, because it has been considered a culinary species since the times of the archaic natives of Mexico, which included present day Texas.  The fruit (tuna), minus the prickly skin, is very sweet and juicy.  It is marvelous when it's been chilled, but is also used to make jams.  The paddle shaped leaves (nopales), can be fixed in salads, in shrimp stews, scrambled with eggs, etc.  They are delicious and very nutritious too.

I hope you enjoyed my letter "F" inspired descriptions of my work.  I want to thank everyone who took the time to leave a comment during my last post, as well as all my faithful followers for their patronage.  Blessings!

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Eclectic is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "including things taken from many different sources," which may include methods or styles.  M-W might as well have included a photograph of me next to the entry, because I love delving into different subjects, trying different kinds of food, wearing different styles of clothing, and the list goes on.  This doesn't mean I like everything, because I can definitely be opinionated and have high standards, but I'm not afraid of trying new things.  As many of you have noted, my artwork reflects this eclectic sense of style.  With that being said, I present to you an eclectic trio of drawings and a photograph.

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2014 - August
The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge #3 - Stencils w/Modeling Paste
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - In the Family
The tag above was inspired by the Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2014 - August, as well as by a photograph of my paternal grandfather.  In my design, I followed Tim's technique suggestions regarding the tissue tape, stamping, paste stenciling, staining, distressing, labeling, metal embellishment alterations, embossing powder distressing, etcetera.  However, I sketched my grandfather's portrait using micron pens, did some hand lettering, used hand stitching, chose different embellishments, personalized my sentiment, came up with my own layout variation, and used a swivel clasp for my tag's topper.

Lynn's Paper, Paint, Pencils & Pens - Cups & Mugs
Alexandra's Sunday Sketches
Lorik's Mandarin Orange Monday 105
Maria's Orange You Glad It's Friday #103
Eva & Kristin's Paint Party Friday - Week 23 Year 4
The page in my 3.5"x5" journal above was inspired by a whimsical coffee mug by "Fonda for Recycled Paper Products" that my wife gave me when we were dating over 20 years ago.  I love the sweet pun, "Juan in a million," which reflects the way she feels about me.  We have some fine china these days, but this is still one of my favorite mugs.  Anyway, I used micron pens to sketch the mug and then used watercolored pencils to color it.  Then, I used a watercolor brush to dissolve the pigment in the cup.  However, I decided to use only the dry application on the table and background, because I liked the texture.

Piarom's Mix It Monthly - Crazy Dresses
Dion Dior's Friday Sketches #23
Denise Roger, & Leslie's ABC Wednesday - E is for Elegant Evening Ensemble
Julia's What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #271
Feline Art Friday #9
My original fashion design and illustration above was inspired by Piarom's challenge, "Crazy Dress."  It is an evening ensemble composed of a silk satin corset and pencil pants, paired with a long brocade coat.  I felt the pointy shoulder sleeves and wind-blown hair look gave it the crazy dress feel I was going for.  I used Piarom's suggested color scheme in the lining of the coat, as well as in the faux logo.  I started the illustration by doing a light sketch in pencil, and then used Sharpie markers to finish my design.

Ramona's Inspire Me Monday Week 136
Karen's Word Art Wednesday #145
Jenn's In The Studio
To close my eclectic artistic journey, I have a photograph I took of some of my daughters' packing during the week, as they got ready to leave to Texas A&M University for the Fall semester.  They left on Friday, and my wife and I noticed that even our two female dogs appear to miss them.  Although we are extremely proud of them, we now officially have an empty nest - sniff!  Anyway, I added a blessing from Psalm 42:8, which was featured at Word Art Wednesday a couple of weeks ago.  I leave you with a thankful heart for your visit and gracious comments, as well as a Blessing for the week.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dog Days

"Dog days" refers to the hottest months of the Summer, which includes July and August, in the Northern Hemisphere.  According to Wikipedia, the name comes from the Romans, who associated the hot weather with Sirius, which was the brightest star of the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog).  Sirius apparently rose before or at the same time as the sun around this late part of the equinox.  Therefore, they believed it to be the cause of the extremely hot weather during this time of Summer.  So what does this have to do with my artwork?  I've got some Hot, Hot, Hot Summer projects to show you today!  Well, I guess that's a matter of opinion - LOL!

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - J is for Journaling
Ramona's Inspire Me Monday #135
Manon's Paper Saturdays
Above are my 4 latest hot Smash Pages featuring hot Summer day family memories.  I used a variety of materials, including Smash embellishments, Tim Holtz dies, K&Company papers & embellishments, hand lettering, and lots of family photos.  The theme through out the four pages was the use of shades of orange and blue, as well as the use of pointing symbols.  All the pieces were assembled puzzle-like, and I made them interactive by turning a postcard into a mini-page and an envelope into a tag holder.

Freshly Made Sketches #147 by Jen T.
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Anything Goes
Julia's What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #270

Tag Tuesday - Statues
Moo-Mania - Texture
Karen's Word Art Wednesday - #144
During Summer, my family celebrates several birthdays and spends time swimming.  Birthday celebrations require candles, which could make everything very hot if not blown out - LOL!  I cut the candles for my card by hand, but used heart punches for the flames, a Tim Holtz die for the mustache, and a DYMO labeler for the sentiment.  As to the tag, which I titled "The Gardening Angel," it's a sculpture I put together using a variety of dies.  It would look great in the flower beds by my pool.

Art Journal Journey - Frida Kahlo
Alexandra's Sunday Sketches
Lorik's Mandarin Orange Monday #104
Maria's Orange You Glad It's Friday #102
Eva & Kristin's Paint Party Friday- Week 22 Year 4
Next, I have my first attempt ever of drawing Frida Kahlo, the hottest Mexican female painter.  It's not the best resemblance, but I believe it captures her essence.  I drew her using micron pens on a 3.5 x 5 inch mixed media pad, and blended oil pastels to paint the background.  The vibrant colors behind the b&W drawing reflect the juxtaposition of the reality of her life and the festive culture that she was born into.  In addition, they helped the drawing pop-up.

Bella's 52 Photos Project - Gallery 14 {Stairs}
Denise, Roger & Leslie's ABC Wednesday - D is for Dog Days at A&M
Jen's In the Studio
In closing, I leave you with a shot I took at A&M, which is one of the hottest Universities in the United States in my opinion.  Not only is it a top university, but the weather can get extremely hot during the summer - LOL!  We were there twice this Summer.  The first time we went to register my youngest daughter, and the second time we went to move my oldest daughter out of her apartment.  They'll be sharing an apartment this next school year.

I hope you enjoyed my "Dog Days" projects, and hopefully you'll agree that they're as hot as I think they are - LOL!  Thank you for all your caring comments during my last post, as well as for following my blog.  Blessings!