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04/12/15
Art Journaling
Filed under: General, Quilt Art, Creativity, Art Journal, Design, Quilting, Creative Every Day, Book of Days, Documented Life, Life Book, Journal52
Posted by: Mary @ 6:52 pm

There have been too many things going on in my life the past few months so I have not made a blog post for a long while. I wanted to share some of my work now before more time slips away.

This art quilt celebrates my return to quilting after a long hiatus (I had a wart on the underside of my thumb for over a year and that made it difficult to sew or even write). Last month I joined an inspirational art quilt group and they are doing monthly challenges. The March challenge was architecture and I chose to design Postcards from Iran to show the rich history of this country that dates back to the cradle/birthplace of civilization. The architecture is beautiful and so are the people.

This is a spread from Book of Days 2015 V1. The prompt was feathers. I painted a background and did pen and ink drawings and then colored it in with markers. Besides the feathers, I also drew some simple dream catchers and stamped with two of my hand carved stamps. I left two of the feathers uncolored because I liked the way that it looked.

This is from the Documented Life Project and the challenge was to use layers that you love and to see how many layers you could use. I had fun with this!

This one is also from DLP and the challenge was to use under papers. I chose to use papers that I had printed with my Gelli plate. I had a marathon art journaling session on Valentine’s Day and although I was alone, art journaling was a very nice way to spend the day in a snowstorm. It made the day special for me.

This page is from Journal52 and I am doing quick and easy postcard size art and taping it into a calendar planner. This must have been done on Valentine’s Day too and yes I am an incurable romantic and no I don’t want to be with just anybody which is why I have been alone a long while.

Another DLP piece and the challenge for this one was to use a repeated shape. I photographed previous work and glued it down for this page, then added the small dream catcher like circles as ornament and the words that I was feeling at the moment. The work came from a circle book I made with round pages that I had painted with watercolors, written an inspirational word on each page and then stamped them with my hand carved leaves stamp. It is fun re-using your work in another art piece.

I did this today for DLP and wanted to show my work table - the dining room table covered with a vinyl tablecloth. The challenge was to use 5 layers and I did something simple - paint, paint, and more paint and then I used punchinella (sequin waste with little holes) followed by an interesting circles stencil. I didn’t use any water, which is something I really like to do, because the Dylusions journal does not like getting wet and the pages really buckle when you work the paint wet.

This piece was from Life Book and it doesn’t look anything like the lesson seeds of love but I enjoyed doing the layering and used my awesome tree stencil over the layers to give it a floaty look. I added some sideways writing along the trees.


Mary MacIlvain

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01/25/15
January Documented Life Project
Filed under: General, Mixed Media, Painting, Creativity, Art Journal, Documented Life
Posted by: Mary @ 7:11 pm

The Documented Life Project 2015 is a free continuation of DLP 2014 but this year there is a dedicated classroom and learning space and you can sign up to join at the Art to the 5th Academy. There are weekly prompts with inspiration/ideas and photo sharing in this social network. There are over 6,000 members in this worldwide group! Here are my spreads for the second and third weeks of DLP. I am working in the recommended large Dylusions journal which is quite nice but you can use any art journal that you like.


Mary MacIlvain

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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

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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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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

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