Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
September 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
05/25/15
Transition
Filed under: General, Collage, Quilt Art, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Challenges, Design, Creative Every Day, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 3:58 pm

For a while now I have been thinking about where I want to go with my art and my life so I have been feeling my way through transition. I was feeling uncomfortable about where I was at and was unable to focus on any one thing long enough to work on my art. Instead I spent a lot of time just being and flowing from one moment to the next and taking an introspective look at what I was doing and why. I asked myself a lot of questions about my life and my artistic direction.

As suddenly as I had stopped, I got started on doing art again but this time in a more relaxed and contemplative way. I no longer felt driven to complete the weekly challenges in all the classes that I had signed up for in January as I was not enjoying the frantic pace very much. And I felt that I needed to be more self directed.

I started quilting again after a long haitus from needle and thread and found myself torn between art quilts and mixed media. Could I do both? Did I want to do both? The answer was a tentative yes. There is only so much time available and I work full time and want to spend time with family and friends. But I need my creative time and it is very much a part of my well-being. A lot of my work needs to be done at home. Still, there are portable projects like hand sewing aspects of a quilting piece or small mixed media pieces like ATCs or twinchies that can be done with markers. So off I go to work or visiting friends with a tote bag containing portable art and quilt items.

This is the opening spread for Book of Days 2015 Volume 2 Mixed Tape. It’s just a simple spread with a vintage photo of me and scans of CD covers of music that I listen to now. No, I don’t listen to oldies and like new music. I added some rubber stamping to unify the spread.

This is a spread for Book of Days 2015 volume 1, week 7. The theme was choices and I was inspired to write a spontaneous poem about choices. I used a simple collage approach to the spread.

Choices
We all make choices in life.
Some choices are small,
like what to wear today,
or what to have for lunch.
Some choices are not so small,
like who to spend time with,
where to work or where to live.
Some choices are not so clear,
like what is the right thing to do
in a complex or difficult situation.
You will choose many paths in life,
and it is ok to change direction
when you see new possibilities,
or when the truth becomes known.

This was from a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to look for a magazine. I have a lot of Art Journaling magazines at home and I have a previous issue of Bella Grace which is wonderful, but I wanted a magazine about art quilting and Quilting Arts was recommended to me by a friend.

This is my earth day challenge for the JAM Art Quilters’ April challenge. The only restriction was that the quilt had to be round and it was great fun exploring this format I made this 14″ round quilt at the Greater Hartford Quilt Guild retreat at the beginning of May and am very happy with how it came out. This Earth Day quilt, along with the Postcards from Iran quilt, will be in the JAM Art Quilters group display at the Newington Library in Connecticut for the month of June.

This quilt is a mariner’s compass wall hanging for Father John, St Mary’s retired pastor. He had seen a table runner in this pattern that I made for my son a few years ago and he liked it very much. So I made him a wall hanging this month.

This is a work in progress for the JAM Art Quilters’ May challenge, which was to use a poem or quotation. I chose the Rumi quote, “Open your hands if you want to be held.” It seemed only natural to trace my open hands for this piece. I am adding a few more things to the piece and then it will be ready for quilting. I am using hand applique techniques in this piece which makes it a portable project and it is also very relaxing to do hand work.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

2 comments
01/25/15
January Journal52
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Art Journal, Quotes, Journal52
Posted by: Mary @ 7:29 pm

Journal52 2015 is a free continuation of Journal52 2014. There are creative prompts each week and there is a group on Facebook for sharing work with over 9,800 members. You can sign up to get the Journal52 prompts via email here. I am having a lot of fun with this and the prompts are great. I am doing my art on a 4″x6″ postcard size piece of watercolor paper and then taping my art into a Japanese woodcut art planner that I found at Barnes & Noble. Here is what I did for the first three weeks.



Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
January Life Book
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Art Journal, Quotes, Life Book
Posted by: Mary @ 7:23 pm

Life Book is run by Tamara Laporte from the UK and there are students from all over the world. The lessons are challenging but it is very wonderful. You can learn more about Life Book and the 25 awesome teachers and sign up for the year long class here. Life Book is quite reasonable priced and there are free classes here too. There is a Facebook group for sharing your artwork and there is a Flickr group too, with over 3,200 people taking Life Book this year. These are the 9″x12″ pages that I did for the first three weeks. I did not do every lesson presented this month as there was so much there. I chose to do the lessons that most inspired me.



Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
January Book of Days
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Art Journal, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 6:58 pm

Here are my week 1 and week 2 spreads from the Book of Days 2015 V1 Ordinary Beauty class with Effy Wild.This class is really resonating with me. I have been taking art journaling classes with Effy for three years now and each year just gets better. Effy shares so many techniques and ideas and she is really awesome. There are both free and paid classes on her ning network and this is a wonderful and supportive social network with over 2400 members. There is a group on Facebook too. Art journaling helps you to sort through things in life and find your true self. It is very empowering.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
01/04/15
January Week 1 Art
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, Book of Days, Quotes, Documented Life, Life Book, Journal52
Posted by: Mary @ 7:05 pm

I was feeling a little under the weather this weekend and spent a lot of time on the couch reading. I am reading this fascinating e-book memoir called Sketchbooks by Lisa Sonora. She talks about her personal creative practice and she intersperses discussions about dealing with major trauma in her life. I usually read books in print but it has been hard to put my Kindle down, her story is so captivating. She shows such vulnerability and honesty it is truly heartwarming. She provides great inspiration for those of us who have experienced trauma in life and spend a lot of time looking inward. Creating art is a positive way of making sense of your life and moving forward.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates

I was discouraged tonight because it seemed like I had not accomplished that much this weekend. Weekends are my time for art and I felt that my time had been wasted. I didn’t work on the altered card deck that I started last week, I can’t get motivated to work on an art quilt, and I didn’t get through all of the Life Book class videos for week 1 so that I could start on the lesson. But when I looked around the house (and in my smart phone photo gallery) I realized that I had created some very thoughtful pieces. Sometimes I have unreasonable expectations of myself and push myself too hard. Sometimes? Often. That is just the way I am.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
12/14/14
‘Tis the Season
Filed under: General, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Family and Friends, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 11:34 am

December brings the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. December brings holidays, family gatherings, and renewal of friendships. December brings a flurry of activities as well as a quiet contemplation of all the things in life to be grateful for, however large or small. December can also be a lonely time and it is important to reach out to others and let them know that you are there. It is also important to reach out to others when you are feeling alone as that will bring you outside of your inner world.

I have experienced a tremendous amount of growth and healing this year. From somewhat tentative steps taken over the past few years to make my life better, I have found self acceptance and self confidence that was not there before. I have been through a lot of very difficult times but I kept going and did not give up. There are a number of things that have made a difference in my life and I want to honor those here.

• Online art communities, online art classes, and art journaling

• Deepened, reciprocal relationships with my children as young adults

• My job, where I feel a sense of belonging and appreciation

• My friends, there for me even when I feel a need to pull back and withdraw

• My family, always there even when we don’t see each other often enough

• My doctors, who keep me healthy - can’t say enough good things about them

• My favorite person, for making it safe to open my heart and to trust

• The earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the water, the sky above us all

• My faith in God and my belief that everything happens for a reason


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
10/31/14
My Little Book
Filed under: General, Book Arts, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 9:21 pm

I finished my little book tonight. There has been an ongoing problem with the underside of my thumb and right now it is being wrapped in duct tape in hopes of solving the problem. My surgeon examined my teeny-weeny itty-bitty thumb and he said no, he does not want to do surgery on my little thumb, so let’s try something crazy instead, hence the designer duct tape. It has been difficult to sew, write, draw, and use markers for a long while now, although painting has not been a problem. Somehow things got easier with the duct tape wrap and I was able to finish this spontaneous project that I started last weekend.

The book is made of four 7.5″x11′ pieces of watercolor paper folded in half and stitched together with yarn using three holes that I made with my awl. I used my ink blot technique to create a background for each page. I did the paint dribbling process all at once in the book over my masonite painting board without waiting for anything to dry and made a big mess. It was a lot of fun! While the book was drying, I went through my selfies and printed a page of those in wallet size. Then I found quotations from one of the altered card decks I made and printed out a page of those. These quotations were from the book Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley. When the book was thoroughly dry I added the selfies and quotations to the book with gluestick. I outlined each item with my Tombow markers and tonight I added one handwritten word for each photo and another faint line with a white gel pen. Those single words came from another altered card deck so in a way I am recycling or repurposing my work. Here is my finished book!


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
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

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
10/05/14
Fall is in the Air
Filed under: General, Photography, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 12:43 pm

Fall is a time for renewal and rebirth,
for growth, change, and transformation.
Fall is a time for  examining where you’ve been,
where you are, and where you’re going.
Fall is a time for chili in the crockpot
and crunching leaves as you walk along outside.
Fall is a time for losing yourself
and then finding yourself once again.
Fall is a time for centering yourself
and for going deep inside to the wellspring.
Fall is a time for reaching out, seeking,
and connecting with kindred souls.
Fall is a time for lovers to know
the depth of feelings that they share.

Usually I write a poem on paper first with a lot of crossouts and changes, but this one flowed right out of my fingers through the keyboard. I have Pandora music on in the background playing the New Age channel. Fall is my favorite time of year and it brings such good things for me. I have always lived in New England with the cycle of the four seasons and it is a strong part of how I mark the passage of time.

I am spending some time in the kitchen today. My son is coming over and we are going to enjoy a variety of foods… chili, guacamole and chips, penne augustine, and apple crisp. Those seemed like the right things to make on a fall day. Spending time preparing food to share with loved ones can be a sacred, meditational act.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
08/10/14
Documented Life Planner
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Challenges, Creative Every Day, Quotes, Documented Life
Posted by: Mary @ 4:45 pm

On the way in to work one morning this week I spotted an incredible pair of spider webs on the split rail fence at the corner of the building. I got in almost an hour early that day because I had a lot to do, so the early morning sun backlit the top spider web and created a stunning visual effect. I often notice the little things that others would walk past and not see and that is part of who I am. People have differing opinions on spiders and some are afraid of them but I think they bring good luck and are industrious creatures.

This weekend I did not get a lot of artwork done as there were a lot of things I needed to do around the house that I had been neglecting. I don’t get down on myself for not accomplishing everything that I have in mind. My list of what I’d like to do is long and I need to choose what things need the most attention and let go of the rest. There will always be another day!

I spent some time working in my documented life planner and would like to share the pages with you. This is a year long project with weekly prompts that is run by the five inspiring women of Art to the 5th. There is a Facebook group and a Flickr group where people share their artwork and it’s awesome. No two journal pages are the same. You start with a purchased weekly calendar book and then add art to the pages using the weekly prompts. There were about 800 people in the FB group when I signed up in mid-December and now there are over 8,000 group members. News about the group has spread by word of mouth in the online mixed media art community. I am perennially behind but there are no time limits on when you need to complete pages.

For week 26 we were to choose either a bible verse or a line from a favorite book. I have a favorite Bible verse that immediately came to mind so here is my page. I am Catholic so this is from my Dad’s Cardinal Spellman (NYC) Catholic Bible that I have now and this may differ from other translations.

Week 27 was to add a crossword puzzle, suduko or word search to your page. I used to do pieced puzzles when I was growing up but I never was much of a one for word puzzles, hence this page. My aunt in New Hampshire who is 95 and sharp as a tack loves doing Sudoku puzzles.

Week 28 was to add an Instagram or other tiny photo to the page. I had a photo left over from my art journaling last week that was too small, so I used that here. I must confess I did not like selfies at first but I have become a big fan of selfies and take them whenever I can now :-)


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
07/28/14
A Day in the Life
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Family and Friends, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 7:44 pm

Is there a typical day in the life? Probably not. I start the day with coffee and my smart phone. I end the day with art books, poetry, YouTube mixed media videos on Netflix or traditional written journaling. I have a great job in marketing and I enjoy going there every day and seeing what challenges await me. Sometimes there are after work get togethers like kickball or a visit to a local restaurant. When I am not at work I enjoy art journaling and splashing paint around while trying to avoid spattering paint or gel medium on the dining room chairs. My décor is eclectic and my art materials have a prominent place in the house – basically all over the place! My kids are my best friends and we have fun together. I like to shop, I like to cook, and I like to hang out with friends. I am always busy doing something!


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
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

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
06/23/14
Love
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 8:39 pm

I did an art journal spread about love this weekend. It was inspired by a blog post about Love vs Fear by my friend Kathryn Antyr. Except when I did my journal spread I talked about love and left fear out of the equation. Yes it can be scary to open up and love again after you’ve been hurt, but you can’t hide behind those walls of fear forever.

To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
05/24/14
Finished Canvas
Filed under: General, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 3:18 pm

I took an online painting workshop this winter with Flora Bowley called Bloom True. It was much more than a painting class… it was lessons in life and a way of being. There was so much wisdom shared and gentle touches from Flora along the way as she patiently guided students from all over the world in venturing into new creative territory. I have painted off and on for years, initially with watercolors and recently with acrylics, but this class gave me a fresh perspective on the whole painting process. I have also taken a number of online art classes and have to say that this class was absolutely awesome! I finished this canvas last month and am entering the piece in a juried art show that will be held at Wesleyan University in June. I have entered juried shows before and there is always the fear of rejection but you have to get past that and believe in yourself no matter what the outcome.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
07/21/12
Design Wall Progress
Filed under: General, Quilt Art, Creativity, Inspiration, Design, Quilting, Creative Every Day, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 9:51 pm

The quilt on my design wall is growing and changing, like me. I started with the same palette of fabrics that I had chosen for my abstract landscape quilt. Some of my favorite ethereals are in that plastic sweater box. The design foundation is based on a 1.5″ square grid set on the diagonal and the pieces I am superimposing over the grid are cut 2″ square, 2″x3.5″, and 3.5″ square. For those of you who don’t sew, a .25″ seam allowance is used in quilting and foot #37 on my Bernina is exactly a quarter inch from the needle to the edge of the foot, so I don’t have to pin or mark the fabric to sew pieces together.

This quilt is abstract and the concept behind the piece is the crossroads or the labrynth. I have been through the labrynth and have been at the crossroads many times. One of my favorite Robert Frost poems is The Road Not Taken, an excerpt quoted here:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I always take the road less traveled so these words ring true for me and are dear to my heart. It is not always easy taking a different path than everyone else, but it is a lot harder being someone you weren’t meant to be. Above all, you have to be yourself. Which is why I am not going to show you the beginnings of a quilt I made in a workshop in April and have put away. Why? Because the quilt is not me. It looks like someone else’s work.

Here is the progression of work on the design wall quilt so far. The triangles sticking out at the edges will get squared off after the piece is assembled but there is more work to do yet. It has been extremely enjoyable to work on this quilt and it parallels some inner work that I am doing. When the mood strikes I add pieces or rearrange to my heart’s content. It is so self affirming for me to work on something in this manner. Make your own path and find your own way.


Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
02/10/12
Book of Days - Reflections
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day, Book of Days, Quotes
Posted by: Mary @ 7:50 pm

Here are some simple pages for Book of Days with reflections expressed in a few favorite quotes. The first quote is from Father Ed Dempsey’s homily at the Christmas Eve vigil mass this past year. The quote says…

No matter the past
No matter the present

The future can be different
There is always
        the possibility
                for change.

The second quote is from an old calendar from the month of February.

Look out at the stars
Watch the moon
Know you are loved.


Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment