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01/01/15
New Year Abundance
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, ATCs, Book of Days, Documented Life
Posted by: Mary @ 1:51 pm

All of my online art classes opened up today and I am so thrilled to be continuing on with these year long adventures in creativity. It feels like such an abundance of joy. Yesterday I went to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme with a friend to see the Life Stories in Art exhibit. There were three concurrent exhibitions:  paintings by Mary Rogers Williams, glass art by Kari Russell-Pool, and sculptures by Mary Knollenberg. It was not that long ago that women were not recognized as artists in their own right and with time that has changed. It is interesting to note that the mixed media art circles that I currently run in are populated mostly by women. This type of art is not usually embraced by the mainstream art community. But you know what? We don’t care. We are coming together in community and we are expressing ourselves through art that is meaningful to us. We are breaking new ground and finding ourselves in the process.

Here are the classes I am taking, in no particular order:

Life Book 2015, with a lineup of 25 teachers worldwide http://www.willowing.org/life-book-2015/

Book of Days 2015 V1, art journaling with Effy Wild http://effywild.com/book-of-days/

The Documented Life Project 2015, with Art to the 5th http://www.art5academy.com/the-studio/the-documented-life-project-free

Journal52 2015, art journal workshop with Chelle Stein http://journal52.com/

Flow, 30 day journal project with Lisa Sonora http://www.lisasonora.com/

Radiant Faces, with 9 teachers including Effy Wild http://effywild.com/radiant/

And I have my own projects that I will be working on throughout the year, like canvas painting, altered card decks, ATCs, twinchies (two inch squares of art), small art quilts, and monoprinting with my new gelli plate that I got for Christmas.

This is the cover I painted for the Documented Life Project

This is the cover I painted for Book of Days

And a New Year’s post would not be complete without mentioning my one little word for the upcoming year. The tradition of choosing one word to guide you throughout the year was originally begun by Ali Edwards. Here is a link to my post for the new year two years ago Grow: Word for 2013 There is no post for last year as I had taken a 9 month sabbatical from blogging, but my word then was trust. My word for 2015 is illustrated here in collage from one of my altered card decks. I chose this word to honor my feelings inside for someone special who has come into my life.


Mary MacIlvain

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10/12/14
Altered Card Deck Flip Through + Tutorial
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day, ATCs, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 8:50 am

I love creating altered card decks based on ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)! I start with an ordinary deck of playing cards and by transforming them through art they become an inspiration full of quotes and ideas that can be held and flipped through.

I have created a tutorial to share with you. There is a PDF with step by step instructions to download here.

There is a flip through video with some of my favorite ATCs to view on my YouTube channel here.


Mary MacIlvain

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09/27/14
Weekly Round Up
Filed under: General, Collage, Quilt Art, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Quilting, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 7:35 pm

My art quilt group, SAQA-CT, is making small quilts to decorate the 15 foot Christmas tree at NBMAA, the New Britain Museum of American Art. At first I thought that I wouldn’t be able to participate because of my vision problems. But I am happily recovering and healing from two cataract surgeries in August and September and over the past 2 weekends I was able to put together a 7″x9″ improvisational piece for the tree. It is a wonderful museum and I love going there, so this fundraiser is a great way to show my support for the museum. All of the art quilts on the tree will be for sale once the tree goes up. It is a little early to be thinking about Christmas but it takes a lot of planning to arrange for members to make small quilts for this worthy cause and deliver them to the museum.

It has been a selfie week for me. Here I am with my hello kitty clock :-) I texted this photo to my kids this week with the message… “Do you know what time it is? It’s selfie time!” We like to text back and forth and it is a fun way to keep in touch.

I was unable to do much the first week after the cataract surgery, but I did manage to get out my Inner Excavation book by Liz Lamoreux and start on a collage journal spread for week 1. It took me another week to finish but it is OK to slow down and let yourself be in the moment and heal. I have been working primarily in acrylic paint for a while now, so it was refreshing to get out my art bin and pull out torn book pages and snippets of scrapbooking paper. The prompts included taking a photo of a cupped hand holding a small object which was a fun thing to do. I added washi/craft tape to frame the photos. Then I wrote a poem that fit nicely on the left side of the spread. I found the book’s companion blog piece from 2012, Inner Excavate Along, for more inspiration. Liz has such a wonderful approach and I enjoy her insight into the small yet special moments in life. She is also one of the top 100 pinners on Pinterest!

I have been thinking about friendship lately. Sometimes you have friends that you didn’t even realize were your true friends. Something happens and they are there for you and you didn’t know they would be. It is a wonderful feeling to have such a friend - like a hidden jewel. A true friend is such a treasure, more than any riches or wealth can bring. You may not see that friend for a long time but when you see each other again it is just like you saw each other yesterday.


Mary MacIlvain

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06/29/14
Inspiration Deck Swap
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Design, Creative Every Day, ATCs, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 1:22 pm

I am currently participating in a card deck swap with the Facebook group Inspiration Deck Divas & Dudes too! Everyone chooses a different quote for their card deck and the decks are shipped to one location for sorting and shipping back out. I can’t wait to see everyone’s cards! Here are the cards I created for this swap.

Here is a close up of one of my cards. A playing card is 2.5” x 3.5”, the same size as an ATC (Artist Trading Card).

Here is more info on how to create your own card deck:
Inspiration Deck
Inspiration Deck – A Tutorial


Mary MacIlvain

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07/29/12
Inspiration Deck
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Design, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 12:32 pm

Some of my friends in the Flying Lessons online art/creative group are swapping inspiration decks which are altered decks of playing cards. Here is a little teaser about the swap on one of my friend’s blogs. The only guideline in creating the deck is that each card should have an inspirational saying. Yesterday I decided to make my own inspiration deck as I was doing some centering work and this seemed like a good channel to elicit positive feelings.

It was an awesome project to work on and I am so pleased with the results. I prepped the cards with gesso first and after that dried I chose acrylic paint in 4 color pairs for each set of 13 cards. Enya was playing on the stereo and I fully absorbed myself into the music while painting, allowing the music to flow through my hand and into the paintbrush. The inspiration quotes are from previous blog posts here, here, and here, as well as other quotes that I had found and saved in a folder (yes I am organized). Holding these cards in my hands and going through them one by one feels so incredible. Now I want to make another deck with fortunes from fortune cookies that I have saved in a small metal tin.


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09/25/10
Inspirational Phrases for ATCs and Mixed Media
Filed under: General, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 1:30 pm

After some brainstorming this week, I came up with a list of inspirational phrases to use on ATCs and in other mixed media work. These words were randomly added to the ATC trades that I have been working on, using my gel pens. Adding inspirational words to an ATC or mixed media piece can give your art focus and another layer of interest. It is great fun to play with words and see what turn of phrase can evolve. Here are my inspirational phrases set into one of my art journals. Feel free to borrow a phrase or change it around to enhance your own work. You can also find many quotes on Bartleby.com.



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09/19/10
Art Retreat ATC Trades
Filed under: General, Painting, Creativity, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 9:27 pm

Here are the ATC trades (2.5″ x 3.5″ artist trading cards) I have been working on for Art Is… You, The East Coast Art Retreat. I painted different colored backgrounds with water color washes and then added a moon-like circle cut from scrapbooking paper with a 1″ paper punch. Next I will be adding inspirational words to each card using my gel pens. A simple, elegant, and fun way to express myself and leave a reminder after meeting new friends.


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07/10/10
You’ve Got Mail
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Drawing, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 9:30 am

On Wednesday night I received not one but three exciting and beautiful pieces of mail. It was so awesome to receive such wonderful gifts and I was truly amazed and grateful.

an incredible paper doll by Ginette from the True North Arts Paper Doll Swap
a lovely ATC card plus postcard from a swap with Dindie in Indonesia
a card from my brother in Tennessee


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04/30/10
Today’s Art - ATCs and Pastels
Filed under: General, Painting, Creativity, Drawing, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 7:50 pm

I did a star themed ATC this week and took pictures of it drawn in black and then colored with markers and gel pens. These are so much fun I am thinking of doing an accordion fold book of ATCs. There may be a theme and they may be random - haven’t decided yet.

From last week’s blog post I am doing my first ever ATC swap with dindie in Indonesia and I am thrilled! For the next batch of ATCs I drew a 3×3 grid to make 9 ATCs on watercolor paper and painted it with background colors of alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, ultramarine blue, and winsor violet washes.

At the Middletown Art Guild meeting earlier this month there was a demonstration by Aleta Gudelski who did an abstract underpainting in watercolor and then after that was dry she drew on top of the watercolor painting with pastels and it is interesting to see what develops. Tonight I found the underpainting I had started recently and began laying down colors with the pastels and this is how it looks tonight.


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04/26/10
ATCs and Mandala Video Links
Filed under: General, Creativity, Design, Drawing, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 6:49 pm

Here are a couple of hand drawn ATCs I did recently. This mandala ATC was inspired by a wonderful Vimeo Athena Mandala on Daisy Yellow and YouTube Zendalas by Milliande is another great mandala drawing video. ATCs are so portable and you can work on one anywhere. If you want to learn more about ATCs including their history, visit atc - artist trading cards. There is a nice guide to making ATCs at Art in Your Pocket: ATCs.



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04/18/10
Artistic Goals and ATC Box
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Creativity, Drawing, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 12:39 pm

Living a creative life and making a commitment to Creative Every Day is somewhat of a challenge for me at times. At the same time, through blogging and the blogland creative community I have been much more motivated to experiment and try new things. On Friday during my lunch break at work I came up with some new artistic goals to help keep my focused on my art and creativity. These goals are rather ambitious for me but it is better to set high goals as you will achieve much more than if your goals are low and easily attainable. There is no incentive to stretch yourself if you don’t reach for the stars.

This weekend I painted a new wooden ATC box and then decorated it with scrapbooking paper. My intention for this is to create a new ATC every week and keep them in this box. I already have a plain wooden box which is almost full of ATCs, many from the Vision Journaling Workshop this past winter. The box and the scrapbooking paper are from a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores yesterday. The ATC was hand drawn lightly in pencil first and then colored in with colored pencils and a gel pen. I used my son’s old colored pencils from Middle School and afterwards I found my own colored pencils.



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02/07/10
Vision Journaling Week 4
Filed under: General, Creativity, Design, Drawing, Creative Every Day, ATCs
Posted by: Mary @ 6:29 pm

It is Sunday night and this is what I have completed this past week for the Vision Journaling Workshop. First there is an ATC card and a companion collage in my sketchbook illustrating the word balance. I used my new fineliner Staedtler markers to make the balance ATC card. The collage is just a picture cut out from a magazine on top of scrapbook paper - very simple. Gluestick is your friend :-) There are several other words for which I want to create ATC cards and corresponding collages when there is more time. Next there is a small wooden box that I found at Joann Fabrics to keep the ATC cards in. This is followed by ATC cards made for week 2 core values and week 1 relaxation. For the core values I used scrapbook paper and markers and for relaxation I used watercolor paints and gel pens. It is interesting and fun creating a design in a small format (2.5″ x 3.5″) and the cards look nice in the wooden box out on the coffee table. I have used a corner round pounch on most of the ATC cards and like the effect. Each lesson with creative prompts is very helpful in getting you to focus on what is important in your life.



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