Categories:

Archives:
Meta:
June 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  
08/28/15
Photo Collages
Filed under: General, Collage, Photography, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Design, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 4:26 pm

Today I enjoyed a vacation day, the start of a 3 day weekend, and went to White Flower Farm in Litchfield. I wanted to see flowers,take pictures of flowers, and be surrounded by beauty. And it was so awesome to be there. Hard to imagine there could be so many flowers blooming at the end of August. When I got home I played with my new and all time favorite phone app, PhotoGrid. It is an android app to make photo collages and there must be something similar for the iPhone. But PhotoGrid is truly great! Here are my photo collages from several gardens (my friend Kate’s gardens, Ballek’s Garden Center, my brother Larry’s gardens, and White Flower Farm) and of course this blog post wouldn’t be me without some shameless selfies :-)


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
08/02/15
Just for One Day
Filed under: General, Collage, Photography, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:40 pm

Here is what I created for week 4 of Inner Excavation with Liz Lamoreux - poetry and Photo Grid selfy collages.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
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
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

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
08/30/14
Poetry/Journaling
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Family and Friends, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:54 pm

I have been doing a lot of traditional journaling lately and have almost filled another spiral bound journal from Barnes & Noble. When I write poetry I usually use a pencil with a lined pad on a clipboard so that I can get comfortable, erase and cross out, and rearrange words. The poem on this scan of a page from my written journal was done in ink straight through with only a little correction tape in a few spots. It is a love poem for someone I think the world of, so it is too personal to share here. It is a nontraditional sonnet which is a format that I really like - 14 lines, it doesn’t rhyme, and it is not in iambic pentameter (a rhythm established in the groups of syllables) It was very special to have a poem spill out of my heart onto a page like that. I almost couldn’t write the thoughts down fast enough as they just tumbled out so quickly. That is how it has been in my written journal the past few weeks - the words just flow.

Words and books have always fascinated me. My father used to take us to the library on Saturday mornings and when I had children of my own I also took them to the library frequently. I have always loved being surrounded by books and was so happy when my son gave me these Ikea bookcases last year. I have a few books on my Kindle too but I prefer the feel of a book in my hands, and art books especially seem much better in book format.

What am I reading right now you might wonder?

Here is what is out on the coffee table:
The Poems of Hafez, translations by Reza Ordoubadian
Rumi Poems, pocket edition, selected and edited by Peter Washington
Journalkeeping by Carl J. Koch (library book)
Walking in This World by Julia Cameron (library book)
The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux
Art Journaling magazine by Somerset Studio
Pages magazine by Cloth Paper Scissors
(I submitted artwork to CPS for Pages in August)
SAQA Journal by Studio Art Quilt Associates
(I submitted artwork to SAQA for a book in August)
Marketer, the Journal of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (brought home from work)


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

2 comments
08/02/14
Art Journaling Day
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 7:53 pm

Today I stayed home and had an art journaling day. It is peaceful to be alone with your thoughts and work in your art journals while listening to music alternating with periods of silence and an occasional trip to the kitchen. My art journals fill a bookshelf now and I keep adding to the growing collection of expressive artwork. They are a chronicle of where I’ve been and how I’ve felt about life’s passing, capturing little moments of time. When I work in my art journals I reach the place inside me where there are no words, only feelings. This is where I remove uncertainty and clarify what I am really feeling and who I am. I also come to terms with things that are troubling me, both here and in my traditional written journals, and can reframe my past in a more positive light.

A new Book of Days Art Journaling class with Effy Wild started on Monday. The theme this session is sovereignty, meaning to take control of your own destiny and life. You can’t control the things that happen to you but you can control your reaction to life events and how you deal with them. Having a positive attitude can get you through the most difficult passages in a healthy way. I can’t tell you how much art journaling has helped me to heal and grow over the past 4 years. When I come to the page, I may have an idea of how I want to interpret a theme or prompt, but I never know exactly what I am going to do or how it is going to turn out. It is both enlightening and cathartic to work through your feelings in your art journal. The act of art journaling is considered to be a practice, much like meditation or yoga. Art heals.

This spread speaks for itself: home is where the heart is. I had been uprooted when I came to live in this place and it took some time for it to feel like home. When I first moved in here I hung a small Celtic cross on the opening that separated the living and dining areas and had Father John come over and bless the house. That made me feel better. Over time I added little touches that made it feel more welcoming and I gradually imbued my spirit here. Of course the special people in my life make me feel at home wherever I am. Home is my sanctuary and my safe place, where I can be myself and be at peace.

I also added a sixth layer to one of my canvases today. It has been at least a month since I have touched it and when I walked by the art room today something made me want to add more brush strokes to this canvas. It was one of three started in a Bloom True painting class with Flora Bowley this winter where I discovered that I really love painting on canvas. This is very freeing and brings you to a special place in a spiritual and metaphysical sense.

I am thankful for my creativity and for the freedom to be myself. Every day brings wonder and joy. A long while ago my Sufi friend Mary Pat showed me her path at a time when I had not given much thought to the path I was following in life. She lives at Gobind Sadan in India now and wrote the book Every Day Miracles in the House of God about her experiences there, available as a free PDF. Since then I have been on a long journey, trying to shed what others have told me was true in order to find my own truth and my real self. At this point in time I have come to a better understanding of the things that she taught me during the times we shared before she moved half way across the world.

My favorite song is Pilgrim by Enya with the refrain “Pilgrim it’s a long way to find out who you are…” That song rings so true for me. It’s all about living an authentic life, about being true to yourself especially in the face of adversity, and never losing sight of the reason you are here on this earth. We are all here for a reason and everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand it at the time. Enlightenment comes to those who seek it.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
06/29/14
Journal52 Week 1
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Drawing, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 4:57 pm

This weekend I created covers and finished my art journal page for week 1 of Journal 52. After using markers to color the hot air balloons, I carefully added a gradated watercolor wash to the background. The Tombow markers are water soluble and would run if wet. It was much easier to work on the journal page with the journal taken apart.

Here is the journal spread from last summer that inspired the drawing on this page. I went to the hot air balloon festival in Plainville, Connecticut last year and took a lot of photos of the balloons as they rose up into the air. It was magnificent and I captured the event in a photo collage with acrylic painted background on an art journal spread.

The covers were not paint ready and needed a coat of gesso so that the paint would stick. I randomly chose some colors from my bottles of acrylic paint, dribbled paint on the surface and closed the covers with wet paint together to make prints on both sides. Then I used a round brush to add paint and cover the white areas around the edges.

These were painted first and meant to be the covers but I decided to use them as the inside covers after I saw how the other side above turned out.


Mary MacIlvain

Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
04/22/12
New Print Gallery Online
Filed under: General, Collage, Creativity, Inspiration, Digital Art, Design, Drawing, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 2:23 pm

I now have a print gallery online and will have prints available of select pieces of my artwork through print on demand technology. This is something new for me and I hope to add more pieces to the gallery over time. The gallery is hosted by imagekind and my personal gallery on the site is at marymacilvain.imagekind.com/inspiration. I am excited about this new venture which allows me to share a physical representation of my artwork with a global audience.

The two images currently in the gallery are Newport Doors, a digital photo collage of doors taken from the old section of Newport, Rhode Island, and Shopaholics Anonymous, a digitally drawn assortment of shopping bags from a typical mall. The black border is used here to separate the images from the background and is not part of the print.

Inspiration springs from inside of me to become expressions in art.


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
08/27/11
Easy Mixed Media Booklet
Filed under: General, Book Arts, Collage, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 2:07 pm

Here is an easy mixed media collage booklet that I put together last week. It started out as a 4″ by 9″ 16-page promotional booklet for the town of Chester that I picked up somewhere. It was in my pile of local interest flyers and turned out to be the perfect size for this. First I glued pairs of pages together with mat gel medium and separated the pages with wax paper while they were drying so that they wouldn’t stick together. Once everything was dry, I removed the wax paper and primed the pages with gesso. After that was dry, I painted color fields of acrylic onto the pages to make interesting backgrounds. Finally, I sorted through my collage bins and chose items that appealed to me and glued them down using a glue stick. Here is an animated gif of the booklet.


Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

3 comments
07/03/11
Inspiration Tags
Filed under: General, Collage, Scrapbooking, Creativity, Inspiration, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 1:56 pm

Last week I made some little inspiration tags to hang on the wall next to my desk. My scrapbooking tag punch [1.75″ x 2.75″] was used for the shape and scraps of leftover scrapbook paper were torn and glued down collage fashion. Positive words for encouragement were written on each tag and sequins and star punch details were fun additions too. A 1/4″ hole punch and a piece of ribbon to weave through 3 or 4 tags for hanging completed this simple project. Enjoy!


Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

1 comment
06/08/11
Becoming Brave: 21 Secrets
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:26 am

The incredible workshop Becoming Brave is being led by Erin Kenepp as one of the many delightful offerings in 21 Secrets: An Art Journal Playground. Erin’s videos are so captivating, free flowing, and enchanting that you want to watch them again and again. Her videos are a wonderful intro to this little ring bound book that you create about yourself. I am finding that I closely identify with this particular workshop and especially the concept of being brave as sometimes I don’t feel very brave at all.

The size of this chunky book fits nicely in your hands (I made mine 5″ square) and it feels like a treasure to explore. I can see that I am going to enjoy creating each page as it unfolds beneath my paintbrush, glitz, collage papers, and glue.


Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

Comments Off
04/13/11
Child’s Play: 21 Secrets
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 9:34 am

Alma Stolller brings you back to a simpler time to connect you with your uninhibited and creative art self in her Child’s Play Workshop on 21 Secrets. Prepping pages for art journaling using a variety of mixed media techniques had me totally absorbed in the process and at one with my art spirit. Yesterday I attended an evening lecture that focused on the concept of mindfulness and being present in the moment. When focused on an engaging art activity this is exactly what happens: mindfulness. Thoughts of the past and the future recede into the background and there is only the here and now. For me art is a centering activity that greatly enhances my vision and my clarity.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

4 comments
12/15/10
Fiber Fatbook
Filed under: General, Collage, Quilt Art, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 10:34 pm

The term fatbook originated at ArtFest, an annual art gathering in Washington state organized by Teesha Moore. Michelle Geller has some wonderful fatbooks on her blog Hold Dear. There are also some great fatbooks in Collaborative Art Journals and Shared Visions in Mixed Media by L. K. Ludwig, a treasure trove of inspiration that I return to again and again. The fatbook is made up of 4″x4″ embellished fiber pages swapped by participants in advance and bound into a book for distribution on arrival at the event. It is a monumental effort and the results are spectacular.

Since I am into art journaling, book arts, and quilting, making a fiber fatbook was a natural choice for me. I chose a 6″x6″ page format, some Hobbs Thermore batting that was on hand, and a variety of my favorite designer and specialty fabrics from stash. Here are some of the pages assembled recently and the next step would be to add some beading and more embellishment. Making fatbook pages is a great way to open up to new creative possibilities and try new things.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

2 comments
11/07/10
Journal Spilling - Art Is You
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 8:57 pm

At Art Is You, the East Coast Art Retreat,  I took an Art Journal Spilling class with Diana Trout and it was awesome! Diana shared so many ideas and techniques with such enthusiasm that everyone went away truly inspired to create. We wrote freehand, tore papers, glued things down, and painted, all in a spontaneous and freeing way. We each carved our own stamp using the Speedball cutting tool and Master Carve blocks and then we stamped in each others journals to leave our mark as a remembrance of the day. Back here at home I am continuing to work in my art journal and find that leaving it out and visible instead of tucked away facilitates progress.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

6 comments
03/21/10
Collage Bag Book on Front Porch
Filed under: General, Book Arts, Collage, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 5:03 pm

It was such a beautiful day today that I decided to drag some collage supplies out on my front porch and work with my masonite painting board in my lap. Somewhere on the web I remembered seeing a book made of paper lunch bags, so I have been saving Dunkin’ Donuts muffin bags for an occasion like this one. I took 6 bags and folded them in half, nesting them. I measured in about half an inch from the center edge and marked holes down the fold spaced .75 inch apart, then used an awl to make the holes. There was a small ball of variegated chenille yarn in my basket of embroidery threads so I used that to loop in and out of the holes from back to front to make a simple binding. I cut 4 lengths of the yarn spanning the book to be sure it was long enough to make it all the way back and forth. Then I got out a used puzzle I had been saving for collage work and glued some puzzle pieces on alternating pages of the book. Next I used my old typewriter rubber stamp alphabet to stamp some letters and some words. This is just a beginning and I plan to play with and work on my book some more as this has been a lot of fun!



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

3 comments
01/17/10
Vision Journaling Week 1
Filed under: General, Collage, Creativity, Inspiration, Art Journal, Creative Every Day
Posted by: Mary @ 12:26 pm

I am taking the True North Arts Vision Journaling Workshop with Kathryn Antyr and am finding it very helpful in facilitating my creative journey. At this point I have created the journal collage for the first week which is pictured below and have started on making the ATCs to go with it. I wrote out a list of intentions for the ATC cards on my lunch break at work and keep a notebook handy there to record creative thoughts that come. This whole vision journaling process has given me more awareness of things that I am struggling with and how to address these things.




Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

2 comments
12/31/09
Full Moon Dreamboard
Filed under: General, Collage, Scrapbooking, Mixed Media, Creativity, Inspiration
Posted by: Mary @ 9:54 pm

After reading about vision boards and dream boards yesterday, I decided to put together a dream board of my own to celebrate the New Year. Jamie Ridler Studios shows  Full Moon Dreamboards which resonated with me and are on the wavelength of what I had envisioned last night. There is great info about creating vision boards on Christine Kane’s Blog. My word for 2010 is create, with the intent of creating new work in mixed media, quilting, drawing, painting, photography, scrapbooking, book arts, and anything else that inspires me. The following words are important to me and are listed on an index card on the dream board:

Create
Organize
Play
Learn
Grow
Live
Love
Be Yourself
Connect
Visualize

There are photos of family members including the cat who is trying to catch a mouse, and miscellaneous images that inspire me. Sponge Bob Squarepants is my favorite animated character - he has a sunny, positive attitude and always has fun no matter what he is doing. A favorite Sponge Bob song in my house is “It’s the best day ever, best day ever…” The background is a map of Connecticut and parts of surrounding states, with scrapbook papers filling out the edges of the 20 inch square foam core  board. Yes, I ironed the map on low heat and cut it out along Long Island Sound to fit inside the board. New York City is in the lower left corner.

Here is what tihe dining room table looked like when I was getting ready to prep the board. Looks like I have some cleaning up to do around here later as stuff seems to have spread out everywhere. This was a very empowering exercise and helped me to focus on what is important to me in the coming year.

Happy New Year!
Mary



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

7 comments
07/14/09
Inspire, Achieve, Dream, Become
Filed under: General, Collage, Scrapbooking, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 8:56 pm

The challenge theme at Three Muses this week is Word Salad. All sorts of great ideas immediately came to mind. Since I am having problems with my hand today it was easiest to work with scrapbooking paper, glue, and ergonomic cutting tools. This piece expresses my feelings about the theme and where I’m at right now. Don’t think you’d ever catch me on a surfboard although the snowboard my daughter left behind in the garage sure looks tempting some mornings. Ride the wave!




Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

17 comments
06/16/09
Door to the Unknown
Filed under: General, Collage, Mixed Media, Challenges
Posted by: Mary @ 10:43 pm

My sister Anne, Anne’s Creative Cornucopia, told me about a wonderful new creative art challenge group that started up last week with the first week’s theme of Mona Lisa. This week the theme is doors and here is my first entry to Three Muses. I did an initial pencil sketch and then decided to build the piece as an 8.5″ x 11″ oval using cardstock, glue, and scrapbooking paper, adding brads and knotted embroidery thread around the edge to create a talisman. My door is figurative and represents the world of opportunity that awaits when we open the door and cross the threshold into the unknown.



Bookmark and Share

~~~ Comments are moderated ~~~

17 comments