Arte Es Vida

First Fridays in San Antonio by arteesvida

The first friday of every month is the day of a popular event in San Antonio’s artsy Southtown.  There are lots of street vendors, musicians, and dancers and the local galleries stay open late and host open houses.  This month it fell on the Fourth Of July so we expected it to be great fun.  Unfortunately, it got pretty much rained out.

This guy, the owner of, had a cover for his booth and stuck it out.  That flower is made entirely of vinyl records.

I also picked up this armadillo at Inter Artisan.  They find amazing oaxacan carvings that I don’t see anywhere else.  Amalitos are traditionally in static poses, you don’t see them like this guy, turning to look at you.  Or my other current favorite in the shop, a zebra scratching his ear with his back paw.

Their prices are great and they go on buying trips several times a year, their next one is in two months and they have an assignment to find Molly a muerta Frida for her Christmas present.

This place also has fun stuff though not necessarily high artisan quality…I purchased two huge tin milagros to hang in my kitchen (pictures forthcoming).

Usually we spend hours at First Friday but this was the extent of it after the rain started.  We ended up going out to Amy’s Ice Cream and to the bookstore instead.  Happy late 4th of July!

Artistic Resolutions by arteesvida
January 1, 2007, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Creativity

I updated the Artistic Resolutions worksheet for this new year (which means, essentially I changed the 2005 to 2007).  If you decide to use it, and want to share the results or post them on your blog, please send me a link!

Artistic Resolutions 2007 (PDF File)

Artist’s Journals and Sketchbooks by arteesvida
December 23, 2006, 5:50 pm
Filed under: Art Of Jewelry Design, Book Reviews, Creativity, Journaling

“Lynne Perrella’s book? Why are you reviewing Lynne Perrella’s book? It doesn’t have anything to do with jewelry making!“

All teasing aside, I think my friend is just jealous I got a copy of this fabulous book before she did! I have been a huge proponent of art journaling and keeping a design journal for a couple of years now. Always one to do things obsessively, I went from never keeping any kind of diary or journal to keeping three! One is for notes, ideas, quotes and pure “writing”, one is a pure art journal that I use for experimental and artistic “play”. My third is a jewelry design journal that I use to sketch out ideas, make notes for projects that intrigue me, and paste pictures of jewelry and other objects from magazines that I find inspirational. While this may sound obsessive (ok, maybe I am a weeeee bit obsessive), they all actually work together.

Sketchbook -- Dragonfly Pin

Design Journal Page

The design journal is the most important one for jewelry makers (for obvious reasons) and also the first sketchbook I ever started. I fill up about two blank books a year of notes, drawings, and magazine clippings. My big rule with this journal is that I allow myself to be ugly, and messy and scrawly. I have found if I don’t worry about “pretty”, I don’t limit and censure my self and my ideas. The above page are the notes and rough sketches of the Dragonfly Pin Project. When I am working on an idea that I think I may eventually turn in to an article, I usually go in to more detail so it is easier for me to recreate my directions at a later date. My other pages tend to be even messier and shorthanded.

Art Journal Soul Blooming 1

Art Journal Page One

Art Journal Soul Blooming 2

Art Journal Page Two

My second journal, a pure “art” journal is prettier by default. Since I use it to play with color and texture and elements of assemblage and collage it doesn’t relate directly to jewelry design. But I have found it to be a fantastic source of design inspiration. And fills my obsessive need to make something pretty after working in a messy design sketchbook. As you may have noticed already, this two page spread from my art journal was the inspiration for the dragonfly pin project.

Although I was already an art journal convert when I received a copy of Lynn Perrella’s book, I found it to be incredibly inspiring and useful, not just for journaling but as a source of jewelry design ideas. Besides being a physically beautiful book, it holds a huge amount of practical information. Including tips and ideas on:

· Working with photocopies
· Use of color using paints, washes, chalks, and textured mediums
· 9 different image transfer techniques
· Using slide mount frames (which can make gorgeous little photo frame pins)
· Attachment techniques, including brads and grommets
· Stamp carving
· Making faux postage stamps

The collection of featured journals themselves are of a huge variety. Besides the “typical” art journals (although art journals tend to be anything but typical) she includes photos and resources on an incredible array of sketchbook ideas. If you are interested in starting your own journal, you are sure to find an idea that appeals to you! She includes a decorator’s sketchbook and file, a project sketchbook (both are very similar to a jewelry designers sketchbook), travel sketchbooks, a mixed media epherma collection, a diary collage made out of rolled paper beads, and even diary quilts and skirts! Of course since this is the densest 130 pages I have seen in a long time, I am barely scratching the surface of what is included.

I may sound like a bit of a sketchbook zealot, but the amount of grown in my work I have gotten just from keeping a journal is amazing. My mom is very supportive and has even been wearing my jewelry for many, many years, but isn’t someone who is interested in the subtleties of design and technique. She commented to me a few months ago about the difference in my work over the past couple of years. She had noticed that I had started to make the leap from stringing beads to creating wearable art. Thinking about design, experimenting with technique, and giving myself permission to play on paper has made all the difference for me. Whether you are thinking about taking the next step design-wise, or just looking for a great creative and emotional outlet, this book is a FANTASTIC resource!

Turning Photos Into Artistic Masterpieces by arteesvida

Mei Noel was the first person to turn me on to this site…the things you can do with it are amazing, and can be used to make wonderful personalized jewelry gifts!

Face Transformer Image Upload

Load a head shot on the system and fill out the information requested in order to register the image.

The next screen will give you a box that will allow you to crop the image down (I cropped mine to face only.) The screen after that one has you use circles to mark where the eyes and mouth are so the image transforms properly.

You choose how you want the image transformed from different categories and then let the program do its work!

Right now the save button on the system is down, but you can save the image by clicking your Print Screen (PrtScr) button, opening paint, and clicking paste. That will give you a whole screen shot which you can trim down into the image you want.

You can then resize the image to fit the jewelry project you wish to complete.

These images were created using the same head shot that is at the top of every BellaOnline Jewelry Making page. Stay tuned for more jewelry making projects that incorporate these sample images!

Faith As A Botticelli

Faith As A Mucha

Faith As A Modigliani

Creating A Journal To Play In by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Bookmaking, Creativity, Journaling, Mixed Media

The art of journaling really opened up for me once I realized that it didn’t have to be neat, tedious rows of writing my innermost thoughts, or laundry listing everything I had for dinner that week. To me, journaling is as much about art as it is about writing. Your journal is your place to express yourself and that can be hard to do with words alone! At the same time, there are some incredibly intricate art journals out there and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Remember that your first goal is to express yourself and have fun! Here are some of the basics to get you started art journaling.

Page Thickness: Regular, unlined journals work fine for art journaling, but the pages may be too thin. I often glue together 3 to 5 pages with Mod-Podge or Golden’s Acrylic Gel Medium to give myself a thicker surface to work with. This will keep paints and inks from seeping through and is cheaper than by heavy-weight paper journals! When I buy a new journal, I prep a bunch of pages in one sitting (if not all of them) so I have plenty of pages to work with when I feel inspired!

Backgrounds: Watercolors make great backgrounds for art journals. Buy an inexpensive set in the school supplies section and have fun! Watercolor washes dry quickly and can be written and painted over without smearing. On the first journal page above (“Strength”) I started with a watercolor wash over the whole page.

Painted Embellishments: Water based paints such as watercolors and acrylics make great journal embellishments! Acrylics will give you a thicker, heavier finish so they don’t work as well as watercolors for backgrounds…but don’t be afraid to mix and match! On the “Bluebonnets” journal page, I used watercolor for the road and the bluebonnet leaves, and acrylics for the lines on the road and the bluebonnet flowers. The two different media used together gives the page a lot more depth!

Collage Elements: The best sources for collage elements are ones that are not under copyright…especially if you are interested in publishing or sharing your art journals in the future. Sometimes you can find public domain images in magazines, or find images that you can alter enough to make them unrecognizable from the original (for example, individual flower images cut out of gardening catalogs). The best bet is to use your own images (such as your own photos or sketches) or images from collections that have been labeled public domain or permission free. Don’t discount using textured papers, or even small flat objects instead of images and photos….they can be a fun addition! I adhere my collage elements with either Mod-Podge or Golden’s Gel Medium, but I don’t seal over the image until I’m done writing on the page. Then I seal the whole page at once time! Any area you seal over won’t take pen and ink very well, so it is better to seal after the whole page is finished! A wonderful all-in-one source for collage techniques is the book The Crafter’s Complete Guide To Collage By Amanda Pearce. It covers paper collage, found objects, mixed media, fabric collage, three-dimensional objects, decoupage, photomontage, and computer collage. If you are interested in playing with collage, this book covers all the basics! The “strength” journal page includes a cut-out magazine word and a Rosie The Riveter image from the classic WWII government war production campain. It’s a simple example of collage on a journal page, but it gives you an idea of some of the things you can do!

Last But Not Least – The Text: You will notice that both of these journals still have regular journal text…you don’t have to give up your writing to keep an art journal! I like to use fine tipped markers that coordinate with the other colors I am using on the page. Combined with the writing, the art enhances the story. I bet you can tell, without even reading the text, what both of my journal pages are about! Next time you sit down to journal, see what you can create to help tell your story!

Making Pearls by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 5:05 pm
Filed under: Book Reviews, Creativity

“We are always in the cycle of pearl-making, forming out of the stuff of our lives something beautiful and meaningful – something we love.” – Jeanne Carbonetti

Making Pearls — Living The Creative Life By Jeanne Carbonetti is a wonderful resource for journal writers, even if you aren’t an artist! As the author describes in the quote above, this book focuses on taking the daily mundane and turning it into something with significance, which is what the practice of journaling is all about. We write because we have a story to tell, it vents feelings and frustrations, and captures memories we want to keep forever. In a nutshell, it returns us to ourselves and helps us discover who we are and who we want to be.

This book is comprised of seven exercises designed to help you create consciously. It’s a seven-unit course that you can space out over days, weeks, months, or whatever works best for you. It’s a wonderful way to honor yourself as a creator, whether you consider yourself an artist or not! Each exercise is based on a color, and the sample pieces are gorgeous but still simple and abstract. The book encourages you to paint, paste, draw, glue, or write whatever you want for each exercise, and the final pieces can be combined to be your own “pearl of art”. Working on each piece is designed to help you become conscious of how the cycle of creation is part of your daily routine.

The Basics Of The Seven Exercises:

Red: life-blood

Orange: womb of ideas

Yellow: power, presence

Green: growth, nurturing

Blue: expressing truth, voice

Violet: wisdom, insight

White: faith, peace

Green: growth, nuturing

SARK’s New Creative Companion by arteesvida
November 26, 2006, 5:02 pm
Filed under: Book Reviews, Creativity

The Creative Companion: How To Free Your Creative Spirit was Sark’s first book and was published in 1991. The book was an enormous success and Sark has gone on to publish a book almost every year since then. Almost fifteen years later, she revisits her first-published baby, and creates a new addition, Sark’s New Creative Companion, that is just as juicy and fun to read as the first.

I was a little fearful of this revision. Although I have read almost all of Sark’s other books, and have loved them all, her first book is really special. There is something unique and freeing about the first time you put your work out there, and it shows in the original Creative Companion. I was worried that some of that exuberance and innocence would be lost in the new version.

I shouldn’t have worried! Instead of editing and altering the original text, Sark merely adds to it…nothing is changed but everything is built upon. The new version also includes two new posters: Ways To Play More Often and Creative “Mistakes” You Must Make/Creative Actions You Must Take. All of the originals, including the now-famous How To Be An Artist poster, are also still there!

There are a large number of quotes, ideas, exercises, and suggestions that you can incorporate into your journal writing. Like the original, Sark encourages you to draw and write in the book, even creating space for you to do so. You may even want to use the book as a creativity journal and fill the pages with your own thoughts and ideas next to hers…I’m sure Sark would be thrilled to know her book was being actively used and well loved!