(Under) 2 Minute Background Technique

I’ve been experimenting with my iPhone recently, and discovered the free Ustream app which allows to me record videos and live shows with my phone. How cool is that? I’d really like to re-do this one, I was distracted (and stuffy) and it shows.

Super easy. Fabulously fast. Great for journals, or a layer on a mixed-media piece.  I think you’ll enjoy this faux batik, resist type background technique of mine; anyone can do it. Really.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 minutes of free time
  • Your art journal, or watercolor paper
  • A baby wipe
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Rubber stamp (or other object that leaves impressions)
  • Paint Brush/Water (optional)
  • Brayer (optional)

Products I used:

Easy peasy eh?

Artfully Yours,
Chrysti

Art: At the speed of life

art_at_the_speed_of_life_banner

“Magic has often been thought of us the art of making dreams come true; the art of realizing visions. Yet before we can bring birth to the vision we have to see it.”
-Starhawk

Recently, I got the oh-so-wonderful  news that my talented friend Pam Carriker inked her name onto a book deal – I literally squealed with delight when I heard -as I know just how much effort and heart Pam put into making her dream a reality. Artistic talent aside, what draws me to Pam is her optimism and perseverance – she doesn’t give up, and I for one am thrilled about that.  For those of you who ever fret or get discouraged over rejection – Pam is an inspiring leader, and proof positive that the dreaded ‘no’ is rarely personal and can be almost always magically transformed into the yes you desired.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Thoreau

To make good new even better, she invited me to be a part of the experience – HELLO Cloud 9! I received my assignment a few days ago, and I can tell you – The topics she chose for me are among the top 5 questions I receive in my inbox daily – I think y’all will be thrilled. Between you & i … and from what I know of the book so far – I think it will be a refreshing viewpoint and quickly become one of the most referenced books on your bookshelf. 

As if that wasn’t enough, you can follow Pam along her journey here. If you have ever wondered what the process of writing a book was, the behind the scenes glances – this will become a must follow blog.

So thank you Pam for inviting me to be a part of this creative journey, and putting me in the midst of such wonderful company:

“Set out each day believing in your dreams. Know without a doubt that you were made for amazing things.”
Josh Hinds

Pam, once again my heartfelt congratulations – this is a much deserved milestone for you. Remember to take a few moments and savor it.

Won’t you join me in sharing her joy?

Warmly, Chrysti

Permission to Play

Ok.  So it may be old news to some of you.

Alright, more than a few of you even…

but still, it’s pretty cool news ya know?

Article in the July/August 2009 Somerset Studio

Article in the July/August 2009 Somerset Studio

In the July/August ’09  issue of Somerset Studio not only did I create 4 exclusive artist papers, but tutorials on how to create on each of them.. and boy-oh-friggin’-boy was the feedback amazing ! It actually took me aback – just how much folks enjoyed it. Delightful accolades are still pouring in about it even now – love that. It touches me. It motivates me. Words can’t convey how good it is for my heart, for the whole of me .. to know that just by sharing something I abso-friggin-lutely love to do, it somehow …inspires someone.

Simple, yet powerful pleasures that I am continually thankful for.

 “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.”
 Frank Tibolt

I stumbled on this video a few days ago – it uses my article as a jumping point, and also showcases Claudine Hellmuth’s fabulously delicious  paint line…. I thought y’all may enjoy it as well.

Here are a few others who have also generously shared their results:
(i know there are more, but lost the links i had saved – please resend!)

Did you use the artist papers I created in a project? Did you give the tutorials a try? Shout out in the comments with a link to your work/post and I’ll add it here too, ‘cuz y’all inspire me. For those that have asked, I just may *cough* be working up a part deux of Permission to Play.

Go. Play. Permission? Totally granted.

 Chrysti

Day 5/29 Days of Giving is…

as i opened this to blog today…

…one word instantaneously sprang to mind

UPLIFTING! ….

… you inspire me, truly inspire me

do i tell you all that enough?

…. for those who may be having a day, where they doubt their value

please know, I cherish you … even if we haven’t formally ‘met’ …

…  wow! the smiles, and much needed laughter you gifted me with

have been a godsend today! …

… every time i craved a bit of refuge from the pain

i popped on here to read a few of your comments…

…and left feeling brighter, lighter, and a bit happier

but i have to say…

… some of you? have horridly bad taste in jokes & puns!

which, tickles me …

…’cause i love a really good bad joke

almost as much as people falling

..isn’t that terrible of me?

back to your horridly bad taste… we totally need help…

like serious help.

ha – that’s what creating is meant for!…

… i found the start of my healing within creating & the humor today

thank you, for providing me with a safe, smile filled place to visit …

… which actually, unintentionally leads me to today’s giveaway

focusing on another one of my havens….

…. go ahead, guess

hint… every artist or createatarian needs one….

My Studio

If you guessed my studio, you hit the proverbial nail on the head! Have you seen my studio yet? If not, clicking here will to take you that photoset on Flickr, I’d love to have you visit!

And no, I am not giving my studio away – I may be a lil’ nutso, but I am not quite THAT far gone… (yet anyway). However, I’d be willing to trade for a larger stand alone cottagey shed, withcustom cabinetry located in the middle of the woods… My studio isn’t much, but it’s mine. I did the best i could, with what I have; it suits my needs. We all may dream of bigger & better — but this truly does suffice for me.  It is the room that houses tiny treasures, harbors big dreams and allows me a refuge from the rest of the world. It’s the one place I find a comforting sort of solace. It is the one place I can truly just be.. me.

studiosfall08

I talk more about it in the current issue of Cloth,Paper, Scissors Studios (p. 45). Which is my own personal favorite new magazine of the year. I was soooo bummed that I couldn’t meet the deadline when Cate asked me to take part in Issue 1 … so needless to say, I was thrilled when I got a second chance! Plus, I got to share the spotlight with friends like Lia and Tiffany … Lia & i had a few phone calls where we obsessed on how obsessive we were. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone! Her studio is super cool, be sure to check it out in there too (p. 49).

What really sets Cloth,Paper, Scissors Studios apart from other studio type publications is that it doesn’t just focus on these lavish, dream spaces most of us will never have in our lifetimes. It shows a tremendous amount of real spaces with real people. Everyday folk like you & I. Heck, some of the spaces aren’t even studios – they are corners of a living room, a closet — it’s just jam packed with ideas, inspiration, and solutions that anyone can apply. It’s not often you find practical and beautiful all wrapped up in one pretty package ya know. If that’s not enough – it also has tutorials, and projects geared towards your space and organizing tips & tricks.

 Chrysti's Magazine Files

I even have a lil’ project in the online extras – simple, stylish magazine ( and other things) files. Super easy. Super cute. If you make some, be sure to show me how they came out! For the curious – I scored the bases at an Ikea. I have another set (shown in other pics) of these plain-jane cardboard magazine holders that I covered with color copies of ephemera, mostly personal family documents and letters from my grandparents. It’s beyond comforting to see their writing daily!

When I open my new site — I will be adding a regular column on studio organizing, since it’s one of the most frequently asked questions I receive. You can check out these past blog posts of mine, for some tips I have already put out there.

To prove to you just how awesome this special publication is — I will be giving away not one, but two copiesof this in today’s giveaway — that is, if we get over 100 entries/comments. So make sure to tell your friends, so two of you can be lucky winners. And hey, why not let us see your space in one of the future issues? The amazing crew over there is accepting submissions. Pokey talks about it on her blog here.

You can read about my favorite supplies in the issue — but I thought I’d share some of my other favorite things with you too. For sentimental reasons – I lovingly treasure the tacky, I-would-never-in-a-million-years-choose-this-for myself, poorly made, dust magnet of a curio cabinet as it was my Grammas. Each & every time I look at it; I am instantly taken back to the day she bought it – how this amazingly big, heartwarming smile adorned her face, the pride she had when her doll collection filled it, how she lit up when she’d show it off; it was as if she had purchased the Taj Mahal… and I am instantly inspired every time I sneak a glance. I want that emotion and pride to come forth in my work, which is why it’s placed in my studio.

My big cozy chair and a half was an amazing score during a going out of business sale. Without a doubt it’s where you’ll find me curled up to read, paging through magazines, and sometimes I even journal there. My iPod is almost always blaring in my studio, as music and the brightness of my room just infuse me with an artistic energy I can’t find elsewhere.

Chrysti's Studio  Chrysti's Studio - Close-Ups

I can’t leave out my charm chain that is draped over my chandelier either. It’s a storybook without words; as it holds treasures from my travels, memories of my childhood, and is filled with gifts that have been given to me, or I gave to myself! Each charm holds a value to me that is beyond measure and it’s truly the stuff that dreams are made of.

No offense to y’all: but I’d rather be in my studio than blogging tonight – so here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post, answering one ( or both ) of these questions “What do you love about your creative space?” and/or “What would you most like help organizing in that space?” If you don’t care for one of those, then merely just do a lil schmoozing by lying through your teeth and saying by far my studio is the best in the issue. We all need a lil’ denial don’t we?
  • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner or Winners will be announced then!
  • Still time to enter these giveaways too! Day 0, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, & Day 4

Day 1/29 Days of Giving is…

drum roll please…..

….. sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll

i should be commended for that…..

… it’s terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes

which reminds me of a story…

… ok. FINE!

i’ll get on with it already…

… i proudly present you with ….

The Final Mystery

(That self-portrait is a clue folks!)

….. an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we’ll talk about that in another post…) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She’s also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur…hmmm… this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate’s hubby!

As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don’t say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate’s Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater  are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.

Besides, who else but moi – would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions – like what’s in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people’s cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)

If you haven’t figured out today’s giveaway yet, read on. Even if you’re suspicious – you’ll need to , since we’re making you work a lil’ for this one! Plus – Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past ‘blocks’ and more – I think the information and insight alone is a ‘giveaway’ to us all!

In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil’ ol’ me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate’s. Not that I think anyone didn’t get that, just ya know… making sure.

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?

First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.

One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages  92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?

About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.

 Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?

Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).

Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating? (and yes, writing IS creating.) How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?

I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or–OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.

Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readers  will gain from this book?

Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.

I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?

Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.

Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?

Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.

Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn’t stand the red & black. I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn’t permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned — and then I liked it. Weird how that works!

Why are manhole covers round?

I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.

One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99? (Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)

Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.

One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.

Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.

Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days. Chrysti’s Note: Submission Guidelines are here!

Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?

This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?

So there ya have it my friends. To enter today’s giveaway –

  • Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate’s question: “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?”
  • If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
  • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!

If you already have the book, enter anyway — this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness – it may just be the one thing, we can’t over-indulge in.

I also thought Cate’s question “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?” is an interesting blogpost all it’s own. So, if you are inclined – go more in depth with it on your blog – and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!

Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it’s not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.

Chrysti …….. who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.

Self-Portrait Book – My Scary, yet thrilling ride!

I dunno, recently it seems as if so many of the new mixed-media books that are emerging, are well, all too common… techniques/ideas that have been done in umpteen other books or publications.. and just, well they aren’t really fresh – (and I am a big advocate of that fresh feeling.) I stopped buying many of the new books as they left me with that… been there, done that feel. I suppose I am always seeking that special something that will challenge me, make me think… and help me discover a new direction, or hone a skill. Am I the only one that feels this way?

So when I first heard about ‘Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques‘ I was instantly intrigued, and my inner muse danced with delight at merely the thought! Here is something that has yet to be done — and man, was I ever mad I didn’t think of it first!

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits Inspiration & Techniques
By Cate Coulacos Prato

Get all the inspiration and techniques you need to partake in the hottest trend in mixed media and collage: creating artistic self-portraits. Self-portraits are not only a way for mixed media artists to learn about themselves and their art but also about each other.

Mixed-Media Self-Portraits features a wide range of artists and contributors who explore creative self-portraits through exercises, essays, and gallery art, offering readers inspiration plus mixed-media, collage, and fiber-arts techniques. Essays throughout the book by a variety of mixed-media artists provide an artistic guide to personal self-discovery. Working in mixed media freed many of the artists featured to express themselves in unusual, un-representational ways, allowing these artists to reveal even more about themselves in the process. The book guides readers through different approaches to creating self-portraits, from jumpstarting the creative process to step-by-step techniques to get ideas flowing on paper and fabric in a variety of media and forms from art quilts to assemblage to paper collage, and more. Filled to the brim with a wealth of inspiration, creative prompts, techniques and compelling artwork, this book is an artistic guide to representing yourself creatively in mixed-media work.

Thankfully, my anger was short-lived since Cate was asking me to be a part of this amazing book! Moi? I was like seriosuly oozing with glee folks. Ok, maybe not oozing exactly– but radiating, yes I was radiating glee! No, not liking that adjective either… let’s just move on. It’s far too late for me to fret over writing.

The thing is, this assignment terrified me. I initially pitched an idea that was totally within my comfort zone, merely to get it done. If you know me though, you realize that is never enough for me. Rarely do i just ‘do enough‘ to get by… it’s beyond difficult for me to accept less then my best. So, I decided to stretch my wings a bit — and came up with, what I think will be a fresh take on an ancient technique. I hope you’ll find my project to be inspiring,challenging, and maybe even a lil bit life-changing. It certainly was for me.

I can’t share my project yet, nor photos of it — you’ll have to wait to see it in the book! I promise, to share some behind-the-scenes shots though once it comes out. It’s oh-so-hard awaiting this – hands down, this was my ab-so-lute favorite venture last year. I am eternally grateful to Cate for making me a part of this. The list of contributing artists is thoroughly impressive — talk about good company to keep! I am so, so honored to somehow be worthy to be among them. Juliana Coles, Linda Edkins Wyatt, Kelly Rae Roberts, Kelli Perkins, The ArtGirlz and Cheryl Prater are just to name a few. Can’t imagine why i feel slightly intimidated appearing between these talented folks!

C’mon – check out a sneak peek of this inspiring, must-have read here! Tell me, are you as excited as I am? I want to hear your thoughts!

The extremely tired, not-so-sure-this-post-is-coherent, so I’ll talk more about it later!

– Chrysti

Oh Yeah! Baby Got Back(grounds)!

I’m bringin’ backgrounds back
Vibrant colors, layers, and paste with cracks
They rich with texture ….oh thats a fact
So sign up now and and I’ll teach you tricks that don’t lack..

That’s right! A month or so ago I finished working out all the wonderful details for my class at the convenZioNE! I really wanted it to be an ultra-special, super fun workshop that we all enjoy… and I wanted you all to go home with a wealth of knowledge, an excitement to play & create freely, and techniques you can use on almost any surface, with practically any project!

Since ZNEis near & dear to my heart – It was important I do something above and beyond for this magnificent event! So I took a few of the classes I already teach, and a few secrets I haven’t unveiled before and combined it into one workshop! In fact Iet me just quote a portion of what I wrote on the site I created especially for the class

I put together this incredible day long workshop – because y’all asked for it. Some of my favorite techniques, for creating backgrounds that have depth, texture and that totally scrumptious richness we all crave. I really wanted to focus on a process oriented class, that would give life-long, valuable skills; so that my students can apply them to paper arts, mixed media paintings, art journals, altered surfaces and so much more! I’m offering up some of my (until now) top-secret working practices too -including how to create gorgeous pieces simultaneously, how to really save money & stretch every last ounce of your supplies.

While these are all techniques I ordinarily teach individually, typically with a completed project — this is the only time you’ll see them offered in a class just like this. Only 20 spots are available — so act fast! I’m really proud of what I put together for this amazing extravaganza — and I hope you will be too.

I am BRIMMING with excitement over this class, and the entire event too!! I CANNOT wait to get the opportunity to meet so many of you, and create memories that will last us a lifetime. True to form — I am making sure that everyone who attends my class goes home ab-so-friggin-lutly spoiled rotten! My class registrants will receive incredible goody bags, The Create With Chrysti technique booklet in which full color photographs accompany techniques & easy to follow instructions; plus tips, tricks & more, use of the amazing all-you-can-use-art-buffet, discounts for my store — and a few more surprises I have up my sleeve!! I love to give — and this is the perfect platform to do so in!  

I put together a site that covers practically any questions you may have about the workshop! There’s a bunch of information, more sample photos and info on how to register! So go and check it out, and even if you aren’t attending my class — I’d love to hear what you think!

The feels-like-i-am-forgetting-something (dontcha hate that feeling?)… Chrysti