Smell this . . . . . .ahhhhhhh

GINGERGRASS

 

Raise your hand if you know about aromatherapywow! That’s more people than I thought! It’s a wonderful practice, one that I’ve taught since 1990. Shortly after that, my biochemist friend Dr. Bill Kurtin and I began work on a new educational aromatherapy website called Chemaroma. We’ve just updated and expanded it, and we’re really excited about it. We may even get to participate in the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy conference later this year.

logosmall copy copy

So what’s in it for you? First of all, there are a bunch of free resources on the Chemaroma site, including a recipe called Stinky Sneaker Zapper that makes your track shoes smell like lavender. There are also some neat skin care recipes and such. And you can get essential oils at Whole Foods and Sprouts. There is even a special essential oil for creativity called Clary Sage – I’ll tell you about that one later. Essential oils are easy and fun, and you don’t have to be an aromatherapist to experience them.

So, if you want to experiment, here’s one of my favorite ways to use  essential oils – an aromatherapy bath salt project. I made this video about three or four years ago. Once you make these artistic little bath salt packets, you can use them for gifts, for craft markets, or just to store in your linen closet or underwear drawer until you are ready to open them and use them in the bath tub or shower 🙂 They make lovely aromatic sachets.

Got questions about aromatherapy? Visit Chemaroma or just email me. And the first person to contact me through the Chemaroma home page gets that packet of Gingergrass Bath Salts at the top of this post. Happy Friday!!

The serendipitous landscape of fantasy

Landscape collages in progress

Landscape collages in progress

Now THIS is one of my all-time favorite workshops – perfect for any level, full of serendipity, with absolutely gorgeous results. Here’s how I described the workshop online:

Using the technique of DÉCHIRAGE (day-shur-ah j’) – distressed paper collage –  students will gain a solid grasp on composing little landscapes using a variety of altered papers, natural elements, and mixed media special effects. Lyn will also share art-enhancing framing suggestions that compliment your finished work so that your final display is both appealing and professional looking. Even a total beginner can create a stunning artwork with these fun distressed paper techniques.

Yesterday’s participants in the Altered Paper Landscape Abstractions class rose to the occasion with some stunning work. Some people created several collages, some just one, but all were beautiful and individual. The hardest part was choosing which piece to mat for display.

I loved this comment from Ellen, “I got frustrated because couldn’t make it do what I wanted it to do, but when I let it do what it wanted, I loved it!!” Talk about trusting the creative process – when you let go and accept the beautiful, unpredictable results, magic happens.

Take a look at the video, below, and then I’ll give you the list of materials for this project.

Lyn Belisle’s Altered Paper Landscape Collages: Materials List and Source Notes

For the basic collage:

  • A 5×7” piece of matboard, illustration board, or very heavy card stock
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Walnut Ink from
    Tsukineko
  • Altered paper (see below)
  • Metal leaf
  • Stamps and inkpad, your choice
  • Lightweight paper to rub down elements as they are glued
  • Metallic felt tip pens and ultrafine Sharpie (optional)

For the altered paper:

  • Citrasolv orange oil-based cleaning solvent
  • National Geographic magazines or other clay-base ink photos – I encourage you to experiment

4

Sources of materials:

  • Mat board scraps can be purchased or requested for free at most frame and craft shops. Look for ones that are dark colored with white on the back for the most versatile design options
  • Citrasolv is becoming widely available in art stores because of this popular altered paper method. You can usually find it at organic grocery stores such as Whole Foods, as well. Online: Citra Solv is now being sold through Cheap Joes, Jerry’s Artarama, Stampington, and DickBlick
  • Tsukineko Walnut Ink is very versatile for many projects and can be ordered from Imagine Crafts, the Tsukineko distributor:
  • I use Scotch permanent glue sticks, but most good brands will do nicely
  • Metal leaf is available in craft stores or can be ordered here on Amazon.com

If you want a very in-depth look at this process, including other altered papers such as “ghost paper” with bleach on black construction paper, I have a DVD called Small Worlds, published by Artful Gathering, that offers an intense discussion of how-to-do-it instructions, videos and demos. Happy new week, All!

sw

Quebradillas: a feast for the senses – there’s an app for that

quebra

I am so proud to be a part of this amazing project! Two years in the making, Quebradillas is a fusion of poetry, intimate audio readings, and gorgeous photos developed in the style of a coffee table book but accessible on your iPad. In a word, it’s stunning. You can purchase it here for only $4.99 – but truly, Quebradillas is priceless!

johnlynscott

Me, Quebradillas author John Dickey, and photographer Scott Taylor at a meeting in my studio in 2015

John Dickey, a dear friend, came to me with this idea about two years ago. He had written a lovely and reflective book of poems titled Quebradillas, inspired by his home in Puerto Rico, and wanted to combine them with photos taken by his son-in-law, photo artist and world-traveler Scott Taylor. I knew just enough to design the epub layout in InDesign and worked closely with John and Scott putting the visuals together. John recorded each poem in his wise, endearing voice.

Larry Ketchersid, app wizard

For turning the concept into reality, we enlisted the invaluable help of Larry Ketchersid, honco at JoSara Media. I had met Larry through another friend, author Bob Flynn and knew he’s be perfect for the job. Larry broke new ground developing Quebradillas in app form, adding an audio file for every poem and making each page glide smoothly across the gorgeous photos.

I hope you will look at the app. I hope you will buy it and show it to your friends! I hope you will cherish the poems and the photos as I do. It’s been an extraordinary collaboration – please share 🙂

Here are two of my favorite poems from Quebradillas – hearing John read them on my iPad is a double delight. And for you non-techies, there may be a hardcover version in the near future! Stay tuned.

Q1 Q2

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy day re-discovered books, and FF winner

Does this sound familiar? You’re looking for a particular book in your overcrowded art book stash, and you find one or two that you forgot you even bought. You check them out – hey, wow! These are good! Just what you were looking for and didn’t even know it! Serendipity strikes again.

That just happened to me on this rainy stay-in morning, so I’m sharing these with you – the first one is Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr. It is a treasury of mixed media ideas, and not just for re-imagined books.

The Tools and Material section alone is worth the price of the book, including a great page on adhesives with a chart comparing and contrasting different ways to stick stuff to other stuff. And the photos are drool-y.

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

 

It's about more than just altered books

It’s about more than just altered books

 

There's a nice section on collaboration

There’s a nice section on collaboration

 

The second is a book published in 2010 by Annie Lockhart called Objects of Reflection: A Soulful Journey through Assemblage. Annie Lockhart’s recent work is based on Soulful Painting, but this is all about collections and construction.

This book is wonderful for anyone doing assemblage because it has maps and legends of the components. And it has another invaluable section on joining things together. The book is printed on tan paper with monochromatic photos – interesting.

Prompts and inspirations

Prompts and inspirations

A legend of components

A legend of components

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

One big fat request: I’m giving you the Amazon links so you can “look inside” but if you want to order these books, please PLEASE check first with your independent book store and see if they have them or can get them for you!!  If you’re in San Antonio, here’s a link to The Twig Book Shop.

And now – tah dah – the winner of the Cat Starter Kit Friday Freebie is – – – – – Carlos Haun. Carlos, email me about how to collect your Shaman Kitty kit.

kitphoto

 

Cat Shamans, a serendipitous surprise kitten and a Friday Freebie

catshaman

Meow —  and Happy Friday. Yesterday was all about cats.

I’m teaching a class called The Mystical Cat Shaman at Artful Gathering this summer, and a group of local friends wanted to try it out. So we scheduled a custom weekday workshop held yesterday (you can do this too, by the way) and created a litter of Mystical Cat Shamans at the Studio!

The “serendipitous surprise” came as we were just starting. Roxanne was late, and she called in with a voice message, “Can you hear in the background why I’m not there yet?”  We all heard kitten mews on the speaker – adorable!

She brought the newly-rescued three-week-old kitten to the workshop and we took turns holding it while we worked. Roxanne is a consummate animal rescuer – she even had some kitten milk replacement formula with her. The little guy was pretty hungry.

Of course, the kitten found a home before the workshop was over. Whether it was the kitten surprise or the group energy, the Cat Shaman creations were amazing – each one different, each one magically personal. Take a look.

So if all of this inspires you, be sure that you are subscribed to SHARDS by midnight on Sunday. One name will be drawn to win the Friday Freebie – a Shaman Cat Starter Kit complete with Heart Box body and kiln-fired earthenware head, ready to finish. Even “dog people” are eligible, so feel free to share this post. Hmmm – are Dog Shamans in my future?

kitphoto

 

 

Glittering banner celebration on Mothers Day

“Everything in nature bespeaks the mother. The sun is the mother of earth and gives it its nourishment of heart; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymn of birds and brooks.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Yesterday’s Goddess Banner/Prayer Flag workshop was a different kind of Mothers Day celebration. We created personal statements in fiber with dyeing, surface design, phototransfer, handwritten quotes and personal iconography. It was a celebration of the idea of nurturing the spirit of Mother Earth – and we had a really fantastic time!

OK, so I don’t usually use glitter in my workshopstoo darn frivolous, right?not this time! We glittered our banners, our gloves, our faces (inadvertently) – it looked like a Tinkerbell convention. And every single work was beautiful and heartfelt.

Even though some of us had kids who were far away, the Studio was a real place of creative belonging yesterday. What an experience! Take a look at our video:

2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition

“Untitled” © Kathryn Oliver

Clare O’Neill has pulled together a fascinating and eclectic exhibit that goes a long way in defining the relatively new art genre, “Photo Encaustic.”

As juror of  the 2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition, Clare writes, “This newest exhibition of photo encaustic work beautifully blurs the lines between photography and painting; melding together what the camera captures with the vision of the what the artists sees.”

The show opens on June 2 at the Sage Gallery in Portland, Oregon.

D is for Dragonfly © Darren Terpstra

Michelle Belto introduced me to encaustic painting several years ago (thanks, Michelle!). And then I worked with Clare in her online class in January of 2015. With her guidance, I was able to craft a personal encaustic style that worked well for me. Clare and I became friends, and her sold-out classes at my Studio this past January were hugely inspiring to all of us. It’s an exciting medium with unlimited possibilities for both the photographer and the painter.

“No Good Outcome” © Lyn Belisle

I’m delighted to be included in the 2016 National Juried Photo Encaustic Exhibition Michelle Belto’s work is included as well. You can see all of the selected works on this page. It’s obvious that the old chicken-and-egg question applies – “which came first?’ – did the medium inspire the image or did the image call out for the medium? Fun stuff.

“Soul Boxes” © Michelle Belto

If you’d like to know more about Clare’s photoencaustic workshops, here’s a link. I’m also teaching three encaustic workshops in August which have sold out, but I’ll be added a second session of Vintage Veils: Encaustic Photocollage on Saturday, August 13th. It isn’t listed yet on my Workshop Calendar, but if you’d like a spot, email me and I’ll put you on the list.

Now  get out your camera and melt some sweet-smelling warm beeswax to enhance your images!

 

Saturday Show and Tell, April 30th

showtelllogo copy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cup runneth over with good stuff! Yesterday’s Show and Tell was a feast of creativity and sharing. It was an almost serene experience – everyone’s work seemed to be somehow connected, and the afternoon flowed from fiber to metal to painting to digital images and poetry.

When other artists and friends take the time to come to these sessions, it truly makes Lyn Belisle Studio a Place of Creative Belonging. Thanks to all of you – I am pretty dang blessed.

If you see some work here that you’d like to know more about, feel free to email me and I’ll put you in touch with the artist. Happy May Day!!