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Please know that anything on this blog is Protected by Copyright. As artists, we respect each other and do not copy or use someone else's work without giving full credit to the artist. Please be respectful of this here at Rasz Art Designs and at other artist sites.

March 28, 2011

march "sketchbook challenge" spilling over

In my recent blog hopping, I found The Sketchbook Challenge. After immediately becoming a follower & visiting the blog several times I started thinking maybe even I could sketch.

The March challenge theme is "Spilling Over. Last night I was thinking of what is "spilling over" in my life. There is so much right now. I thought about my grateful journal and grateful lists I keep (staying in gratefulness keeps me focused on how much I really do have in my life). I used this mindset for the March theme to sketch. I can draw a flower, okay, and flowers represent happiness and new beginnings to me so that was the start. The main flower is my life in general. I am a blossoming flower at this point in my beautiful life. The rest of the flowers represent everything I am grateful for in my life (I ran out of room and covered the entire 11"x15" page). Now that's spilling over. I sketched it on watercolor paper with a General's graphite sketch & wash pencil. Today I might try to paint it? I will post another picture if I do.

This sketch is named "gratefulness" as that is what it represents to me. The two smudges on this sketch were from my dog Charlene who just had to lick it as I was trying to get a picture. Another lesson learned, keep artwork higher than Charlene's reach when taking pictures.

Happy Monday...Make it a great week!

March 27, 2011

fellow blogger needs our help!

I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing Sunday. After playing with paint and making a mess, I decided to take a break and check my e-mail and blog. I saw a post from one of the blogs I follow, Words of Me Project, titled "I Need Your Help". Well that caught my eye so I popped over to Leslie's blog and read the request. There is a young girl named Lizzy in Leslie's community who suffered a major stroke and she is only 11 years old. Leslie and her friend are organizing a fund raiser for the family and are asking for anyone wanting to help out to donate something handmade for the auction. Click here to read her request and get more info. 

In the short time I have been in the blogging community I have come to realize that this is a community where we all support one another. Our thoughts, a kind word of support or prayers are priceless.

I cannot imagine what this family is facing tonight. May Lizzy and her family feel some comfort from all the prayers coming their way.

learning something new about blog design, ugh!

So here I am, a new blogger of only 19 days, and every day I learn something new. Partially because I am not one to read, study, learn and THEN do whatever it is I am trying to do. No, my approach is more like figuring out the "how to start" and then I jump right in with lots of enthusiasm and a great big imagination, but no information. Of course this approach leads to numerous bumps in the road, right? For me, my approach leads to lessons learned that I actually will retain once I fix whatever I have done. I tell myself I really will research next time but my impatience wins over with each new exciting adventure.

This leads to what happened last night. My blog looked okay to me, that is viewing it from my Blogger dashboard, on my little five year old laptop (which needs a new hard drive & memory) with Firefox/Mozilla as my internet browser. Then I viewed my blog on a full sized home computer using Internet Explorer, Uh-Oh! I thought maybe all the never-ending rain we're having here could've caused the snafu, however that was reaching a bit. The layout did not work, words with the blogs I have linked on my sidebar were cut up, the font was too big....well you get the picture or if you are returning here, you may have noticed. I am sure this information is somewhere in the Blogger Help world.

The great news for me is I fixed all the little things and a few more by using my little laptop and designing using Internet Explorer. My blog layout now looks good from both browsers on different screens. My apologies to everyone whose blog links were not looking too good.

Lesson learned, hopefully retained. If you are a new blogger like me using one browser, check your blog in another browser or from a newer, larger computer (or a smaller, older one) without being logged in.

Has anyone else ever had any other issues like this?

Have a great Sunday!

March 26, 2011

passing the award on...

In my previous post late last night I announced with great honor that Heather at Little Red Henry awarded me with the One Lovely Blog Award. As tradition of this award, the recipient passes this award onto three (or more) other bloggers. If I could, it would most likely go to all the countless, amazing blogs I have visited in the past several months since I have started this journey. However I do not think that is the original idea of this award. So what I have done is chosen a couple of blogs/bloggers who have touched my heart, inspired me, encouraged me, made me smile and brightened my day. You are all wonderful!

So it is with great pleasure (drum roll please)

this One Lovely Blog Award is passed on to:

Mystele at http://www.mystele.com/. Reading Mystele's blog, looking at her artwork and her YouTube videos sends me straight to my Graceful Whispers Studio (aka my dining room table turned art room/table/mess) with my creative juices flowing. Not only is Mystele an incredible artist and teacher, she shares God's encouraging word, wisdom and love in all she does. Mystele is the woman who originally told me I had it in me to follow my dreams and she encouraged me to just do it. Thank you Mystele. I truly believe without your gentle nudging, I would never found the courage to get out here, blog, paint, share, connect and create! You are forever in my heart & my prayers, my friend.

Kristy at http://myhealingthroughartstory.blogspot.com/ Kristy is an artist and a woman who has found positive healing through art from tragedy and is sharing her journey. Kristy is brave, positive and upbeat. She shares her art and her story in such an inspirational way. Thank you Kristy!

Diane at http://dianecostanza.blogspot.com/. Diane is another incredible artist/blogger and upcycles like me, so I feel a connection with all she creates. Along with having a great blog & great art she has a beautiful sharing heart. Diane helped me untangle and navigate the blog designing set up world to create my blog. That is the kind of person she is. Her heart makes me feel special and her artwork inspires me. Thank you Diane!

Tina the Knitting Contessa at http://knittingcontessa.blogspot.com/. Tina is funny, talented, upbeat, authentic and her blog always makes me smile & laugh. She shares lots of great pictures, her creative adventures and her life. When I read her blog I feel as if I am sharing a cup of coffee and talking about the week. She makes me feel like I am a friend being welcomed into her life through her blog. Thank you Tina for just being you!

Amanda at http://realityarts-creativity.blogspot.com/. Amanda's art is incredibly inspiring to me as are her posts. One of the first posts I read was Balance. She had pictures of this rock with the word "Balance" placed in different locations and wrote about having to find balance in these areas. I could so relate as this was currently a struggle in my life. Along with the other women above, Amanda's spirit shines brightly, her words encourage and she is a light in our world. Thank you Amanda.

So here's what you do once you receive the award:

Post this award on your blog together with the name of the person who gave you the award and their blog link. Thanks again to Heather at Little Red Henry

Then, pass the award to 3 or more other blogs and contact them so they know you have chosen them for this award. Oops...I better get busy and do that!! 

Happy Saturday Everyone.

March 25, 2011

an award for this blog

Wow! To my amazement, Heather from Little Red Henry gave me this award today! I feel so honored and had to share this great surprise before I headed off to sleep. I just started this blog a few weeks ago and to get this "One Lovely Blog Award" is incredible. Thank you so much Heather.

Starting this blog was very scary for me. I was afraid to put myself and my art out into the world. I am grateful for the encouragement received to face those fears and just do it anyway. I am meeting some wonderful bloggers, artists and kindred spirits who have become friends. Blogging is an inspiring, supportive world that I am proud to be a member of.

I will be passing on this award tomorrow when I can think a little better (I am definitely a morning person). I also need some time tonight to get over the tears and amazement of my brand new blog being selected by such a wonderful and talented artist/blogger as Heather. Take a moment to check out her blog and artwork, I bet you will be glad you did.

Good Night, Sleep Tight,


March 20, 2011

breaking free

Painting pictures was never my thing, at least that is what I thought. I really never had any desire to paint "something". I like to play with paint, add charcoal, mixed different kinds of paint, add paper and other elements, make a mess, a background to collage over and under! Now that to me is my kind of painting. However the other night (maybe a week or so ago) I was creating a background on an old book cover for a new collage and I saw these flowers in it. I drew around them, colored them in, shaded and there was created "flowers in the forest". I posted it on an earlier blog and also used it for my blog header.

With that said, last night I was working on the background, again on an old book cover, for some kind of mixed media project with my dragonfly collage. I got the background done and I saw a face, then I saw this girl emerging. I took my charcoal pencil and outlined what I saw...there she was...coming out with barely visible wings carrying her along. I just added a little watered down color to bring out her figure and her hair.

So here is she is, "breaking free". I think this is myself and other women who are emerging into our true being; our passion, our creativity and our purpose. I know for me I had to break free from so much to be where I am now.

I wanted to share as this is not what I normally do in the way of art. Finding life in what I thought was just a fun, messy background has surprised me twice. Both have touched my heart and soul.

I know, right now, I am breaking free of fear, rejection and my own self doubts about what I can really do. I am coming into life again and it feels wonderful. Is there anything you are breaking free from? What are you emerging into?

March 19, 2011

designing my blog

I have been viewing some really beautiful and creative blogs lately that are all Blogger blogs like mine. I wondered how to get my blog to look customized also. I wanted it to reflect the emerging me. So I asked for help from Diane Costanza, one of my Brave Girls Club friends. She graciously offered up tips and instructions. Now for the past few evenings after work I have been customizing my blog. I used Picasa to create the header which worked great and was user friendly too.

I would welcome some input as I am not looking at this blog as you are. I am having trouble deciding on the fonts to use. I like a handwritten style font however I am not sure which one is easiest to read and fits my blog. What do you think? Does the header read well? Does the background blend with the header? What looks good? What could be changed? What fonts do you like or use? I could go on and on with questions so I think I'll let you take it from here...Thanks so much!

March 14, 2011

my first book purse!

Most everything I am doing right now is being done on old hardback book covers, or some other item turned canvas. Our local thrift stores throw so many old books into the recycle bin since they are not resell-able (okay may not be a real word, but you get the idea). When I approached the volunteers who sort the books and told them I wanted to experiment with creating art, mixed media paintings, journals, notebooks or something from the old books that were headed for the big recycle dumpster, I ended up with boxes of hard cover books! I get calls every week to pick up more if I'd like, although right now I have probably enough to last a while. These wonderful ladies were so excited that I was going to upcycle an old book that THEY actually inspired me! They graciously gave me so many books that I cannot just let them sit around. So with lots of gesso to set the stage, I began playing around. I have made several paintings, an album for my Artist Trading Cards, a notebook and a front and back cover for my Morning Pages journal.

Then I saw several purses made from classic books and got the idea to try to make one with my artwork on the cover.

From this point I started looking for instructions for the inside. Unfortunately I do not follow instructions well, so I watched several different YouTube videos, read a couple DIY PDFs that creative people shared, and then combined a little bit from everything I saw and made my own inside! It was lots of fun. 

I enjoyed watching and reading the various ways to create a book purse. Every purse I saw was done differently and each were uniquely beautiful! And as for the creators of the videos and instructions out in cyber world, a HUGE thank you for sharing. Please know that I envy the fact you are able to create and follow instructions, measurements and techniques. I'm in my late 40s and still cannot actually follow a recipe or pattern without changing it up to suit my style. I change up everything. Must be the rebel in me, yep that's it.

Note to self for using glue on future purses: E600 glue took too long to dry and is very stinky. Using a hot glue gun left lots of spider-webby strings but worked great for parts that needed to be glued in quickly, like the inside. For most of the gluing I stuck to Aleene's Tacky Glue which I find works great on most everything. 

I kept to my tradition of using recycled or remnant materials whenever possible. The handle was made from an old belt and the inside was done with remnant fabric I picked up. I also used remnant ribbon for the button loop and the loops holding the handle and colored the ribbon with some of the same acrylic paint used on the cover.

Let me know what you think. This was my first try at a book purse and I plan on doing more.

March 13, 2011

inspiration and community

What an exciting week! In beginning this new creative journey, I know I will need an encouraging network of other creative souls. So this begins my search of community. I first joined Mystele's Little Glimpses Community Studio, WOW! Lots of videos, talent and inspiration. From there, I learned about another online community, The Brave Girls Club. After several minutes of visiting, I knew I belonged there as well.

Communities, whether in our own neighborhood or online with like-minded people from around the world, can help encourage our inspirational creativity, something all of us can use from time to time. These communities also give us the opportunity to share ourselves, our talents and our experiences to help inspire others as well.

If you are feeling alone, or wanting to connect with others and do not currently have that connection, reach out. I know from experience that can be very scary, but it can also be very rewarding. You'll never know where the path of life will take you if you do not take the first step. It feels so good to connect with others!

March 08, 2011

inspiration and mixed media

After four years, I felt the urge to be creative again, but I could no longer figure out what that really was. I tried going back to sewing and beadwork, the things I knew how to do, but that now felt foreign and disconnected to my soul.

Desperate to find my creativity, I went searching for inspiration. I started with reading Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts, then I worked the program by Julie Cameron in The Artist's Way. Both of these artists, combined with lots of prayer, helped my spirit heal and gave me the courage to create once again. However creativity was different this time. I no longer looked at fabric as material, I saw it as art. My magazines became cut up torn pieces of colors, patterns and pictures with paint, crayons, markers and charcoal added to the mix. I was using old discarded books sent to the recycle pile as my canvases and incorporating remnant and second-hand materials in everything I did. I really didn't know what I was doing, I just wanted to keep doing it and I wanted to find others who were doing something similar, if there were any. That's when I discovered I was now living in the world of Mixed Media! I was not alone. I found my calling.

In my search for others like me, there is one artist who touched my heart, fanned the flames that had been tiny embers burning in my soul and inspired me. From reading her blogs to watching her YouTube videos, Mystele Kirkeeng undoubtedly got me going. She encouraged me to see whatever was there, hiding in the background, and to have the courage to listen to the whispers urging me to just create. I will be forever grateful and forever a fan! Check her out, I am sure you will be encouraged and inspired.

Here is my first painting, without any collage, inspired by watching Mystele. I do all my work on old books that were headed to the recycle bin at our local thrift store. I love creating new purpose and life from the tattered past that would have been otherwise thrown away. It is my belief, experience and passion that the “remnants of the past” hold a “purposeful future” in our life if we choose to see them in that light; whether it is a transformation of an old object into something new or the creation of a positive future from a challenging life experience.

flowers in the forest

So here I am, brand new to the world of Mixed Media, and to the world of blogging. I want to share my work, my techniques and hopefully inspire others as I have been inspired. I believe we all have gifts and talents to share with each other and blogging is the perfect venue for doing so. Please feel free to share tips on blogging, links to other inspiration or just say hi.