Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sassy Cats - ATCs

This ATC swap called for a cat (or cats) to be the subject, and also have some text reflecting whatever thoughts just might be going thru their little kitty minds!  Altho all the ATCs that I made for the swap didn't involve my little kitties, those are the ones I'm sharing on this blog!  The above ATC is of Toutle, when he was just a wee little baby kitten.  He was lying in wait to attack me, behind a fake greenery potted plant I had on the floor of my office.  He has certainly lived up to this quote, tho!  What a character he is....and I wouldn't have him any other way!!

This ATC, above, is of my other little darling kitty, Tatoosh, the very first day she was home with me!  She loved to curl up in baskets and small dark enclosed places (and in my lap).  And, she is the princess, and is just a sweet little girl kitty!

This is also Tatoosh, in one of her less princess like moments.  Still, it speaks to just how relaxed and safe she feels here at home (she was a neglected kitty for the first few months of her life, so was a bit skittery when I first got her).  And, no matter how wonderful, every kitty has that kitty attitude of what's good for you is just fine for them, too, and I guess that includes laying around and vegging!  (Altho I'm sure she's imitating her "dad", Jeff, here!!  LOL - sorry, sweetie!!)


Altered Playing Cards - Flowers

This ATC swap had the theme and requirement of being an altered playing card, altered using flowers and something that flies.  For the card above, I chose a napkin that I applied to the card itself, and then punched out some butterflies to apply on top of the napkin.  I chose to keep it sort of monochromatic because the roses on the napkin just seemed sort of soft and gentle.

For the above card, I also used a napkin, with a large peony-type bloom,  It, too created a softer feel, but not as soft as the roses, so I chose to include a purple dragonfly to satisfy the "something that flies" requirement, and add a little zip.  However, I only put one into the piece, so the flower could still be the focus.

This last piece is just pure fun and reminds me of summer!  As with the other 2, I used a napkin, this time with bright boldly colored blooms and leaves.  I added a couple of dragonflies and a butterfly to finish it off.  This is just such a light, fun piece, looking at it just makes me smile!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Resist Technique !

Tried this new technique the other day while creating background pages for my travel journal for this August's vacation and really liked the way it came out.  It's easy as pie! 

Watercolor paper
White gesso
Stencil (optional - you can paint a design freehand if you like!)
Acrylic paint in the colors you choose (I used a turquoise and bright green)
Water in spray bottle

How to:
1.  Apply the white gesso to the watercolor paper, either freehand or using a stencil.  The more gesso you apply, the more textured your design will be, so play with it!  Let dry thoroughly.
2.Apply layer of paint to entire sheet with paintbrush.  (I used the turquoise first.)  Let dry.
3.  Spray sheet with water and use a paper towel to wipe off immediately.  The gesso'd part of the paper will resist the paint, and it will appear much lighter.  The more you rub, the lighter the paint will be over the entire sheet.
4. Add dimension by lightly applying the second paint color (in this case, bright green).  I use a baby wipe to apply paint when I do this, and it works perfectly!

That's it!!  I think I'm going to try this technique with tags, ATCs and some library card envelopes to create some nice backgrounds for them as well!  It's very fun, doesn't take long (you can use a heat gun to help dry the gesso and paint), and, like I said easy as pie!  Actually, in my case it's easier than pie, since I have a tough time with pies!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sandia Mountain Wildflowers - Various Color Blooms

In this last group, I decided "various color blooms" sounded better than "all other"!  The white bloom above is called a Western Yarrow.  The interesting thing about this bloom is that the bloom is actually made up of a bunch of tiny, tiny blooms.

The above bloom is called a Little Leaf Mock Orange.  This flower blooms on a bush or shrub and has a very gentle sort of light citrus smell to it.  I wouldn't call it orange, but then, I don't have a very good nose!  The blooms are very delicate and look just lovely grouped together.

I know this flower looks sort of purple, but it really has a sort of leather appearance to it - hence the name, Leatherflower!  The bloom at the bottom isn't really a bloom - it's what this flower looks like when it goes to seed!  Apparently, it's pretty rare to see these flowers, so we were lucky last Saturday!

And, I have to tell you, I think this flower was misnamed.  It's called a Western Wallflower - I always think of any type of wallflower as being rather pale and pastel, in a way.  This little bloom is anything but!  Bunches of little bright orange blooms - nothing wallflowery about it!


Sandia Mountain Wildflowers - Yellow Blooms

Yes, there were more than just purple blooms in the Sandias last Saturday!  And, here we see the yellow blooms that were out in their glory that day!  Above is Sweet Yellow Clover.  Maybe it's just me, but I think the shapes of the 2 flowery stems looks like a heart.....or am I really a romantic at heart?

The next member of the yellow brigade is the Showy Goldeneye.  I really like the touch of green in the center of the head of the flower.....and the little blooms to come!

Isn't this an interesting looking flower?  I don't know that I've ever seen one before.  It's a Yellow Salsify.  There's so much about this image and flower that I love.  I just love the spiky leaves that are under the actual petals of the flower.  The closed bloom is sort of the "before" part of this image!  I also love the color of the flower against the woods in the background.

And, finally here's the Hairy Golden Astor.  It has pretty little blooms, but it gets the "hairy" part of its name from the shapes of the leaves.  It grows fairly close to the ground, so I included the nice texture of the ground as the background for this image.


Sandia Wildflowers - Other Purple Blooms

I guess last Saturday was a day for purple-type blooms!  Here are 3 more different types of purple wildflowers in the wonderful Sandia Mountains (I just love to think of these mountains as "my" mountains!).  The bloom above is a Spike Verbena.  The bloom is pretty, and in this case, I was also taken by the leaves of the flower - I just love their shape and the texture this appears to give them!

This lovely little bloom is a Purple Geranium.  I know, it looks more pink than purple, but there you have it!  It really is a delicate little flower, and I love the contrast of the yellow stamens.

And, this last of the purple blooms from this walk is called Jacob's Ladder.  If I remember correctly, the leaves of this bloom sort of creates the impression of a ladder.  But, I could be misremembering!  In any event, the mix of this shade of purple and green is one that I find quite relaxing and soothing.

And, this last bloom is a Rocky Mountain Townsend Daisy.  I love the look of these petals, so perfect and precise!  And, it looks like such a happy flower, doesn't it?  But, then, I think that about most daisies!


Sandia Mountain Wildflowers - Penstamon

Last Saturday, I did something I've meant to do since we moved here 3 years ago - finally!  I did a wildflower walk in the Sandia Mountains close to where we live.  The walk was led by a volunteer.  There were a number of different types of wildflowers, so I'll use a number of different posts to show you the beauty in the New Mexico mountains!  This first post is of the 3 varieties of penstamon that we saw.  The one above is called Rocky Mountain Penstamon and is a great purple color.  There are some that are more bluish, but I chose this one for posting because as I was shooting this flower, a bee flew up and became part of the image!

This second variety is called either Scarlet or Red Penstamon.  I just loved the look of the vibrant red against the lush green of the woods surrounding it!

And, the final variety of penstamon is the Whipple's Penstamon.  It's also known as the Dusky Penstamon.  This was a sort of heathery type purple color, not quite as bright as the Rocky Mountain Penstamon.  I don't know that I've ever seen penstamon before, so this was a very neat way to learn about new flowers!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Earth Laughs In Flowers ATCs

I just completed an ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap a couple of days ago.  This was my first swap in several months.  This was a photo swap of close-up shots of flowers - an easy swap for me!  The above flower was one I didn't have to travel very far to find - it was in our front yard.  The colors are so vibrant - I love it! 

This is another front yard bloom, from one of our yucca plants.  The yucca is the official state flower - such a pretty one, don't you think?  I love the soft effect of this image, too.

And, finally, this is an image from a garden, just not ours!  I took this image last year, when we were visiting Jeff's sister's house.  Her peony plants were just magnificent, and I was lucky enough to get this fabulous image!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Exploring Around Ute Lake State Park

We're camping this weekend at Ute State Park, near Tucumcari, NM (Brian Urlacher's home town, I believe) and decided to drive around the secondary roads, just to explore.  The above scene is actually a riverbed that must have seen water recently, altho there's only a small collection of water under the rock overhang on the left center side of the photo, next to the trees in the center.  The green was lush, and the type I'm used to seeing in the Midwest, but not in New Mexico!  Thoroughly enjoyed this view!

I just loved the desert wildflowers that were in bloom.  I don't know what the flowers above are, but they are very tiny and (obviously) close to the ground.  I just loved the mix of purple and yellow running along the ground!

Cholla (pronounced choy-a) are really nasty shrubs - their thorns seem to just leap out and attack you if you get too close.  That doesn't really happen, but it seems like it because the thorns are so sensitive to things close to them, they attach themselves to you very quickly.....and HURT!!  However, their blooms are just lovely!  The above bloom is a lovely bright pink color, and I've also seen them yellow.  Beautiful to look at, but don't get too close!!!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Morning Walk

Went for a walk this morning (my first this year - yea, energy!) with Jeff, Miki and my camera.  Got some pretty images of little blooms (and grasses) in our airpark.....right under our noses!  I really like the above image - one of the reasons are the shadows of the stamens on the petals.  I feel like adding some inspirational quote on the left side of the image and create a note card from this image. 

Here's what I believe is an Indian Paintbrush.  I love the bright green tips (stamens?) as a contrast to the orange.

I know, I know, this is technically a weed, but I just loved the way the middle of the flower gone to seed created such a cool pattern!  And, the fuzzy head was just so perfect - the wind hadn't gotten to it yet!

This was a grass that was actually pretty small and short.  I just loved the reflection of the morning light off the little fronds.  It just looked sort of lacey and delicate.