Lifting spirits with little gifts of art

Have you noticed that little gifts mean even more in tough times? I’m not sure I ever realized that before the “Age of COVID” smacked us all around and left everybody’s crystal balls all fogged up. But some things never change, like creative thoughtfulness.
When I published my new eBook, Postcards to Myself, I wrote it primarily for individual artists (beginners and seasoned) who needed an engaging method to discover, curate, and record their best techniques.

But those artists have taken the “postcard” idea and run with it.
I just got this note from one of them:
Just wanted to let you know that I really got caught up in your class “Postcards to Myself”.  I never really understood how to do collage until I took this class.  I was gathering quite the stack of them and finally decided to share them. 
I wrote words of inspiration on the Mat board before I started the collage.  I put them in envelopes and sent them out to friends and those who might be needing a little bit of encouragement during this pandemic. 
Creating the art helped me immensely!  I probably send out between 75 and 100 of them.  What fun I’ve had! Thanks for teaching the class!
Niki W.
Here’s Niki’s work table with postcards in progress:
This email was totally unexpected – and frankly, pretty exciting! Who wouldn’t want an actual piece of art in the mail? Niki, you are the best!
Another “giving” idea (from me to you) is my free workshop called The Lotus Book. Currently, there are 111 artists enrolled in that class, watching the instructional videos, and creating these art books. In the Lotus Book workshop, I encourage you to make these little journals a gifts for others.
Here are some emails and examples that artists have sent to show me what they’re doing:
Hi, Lyn,
I just finished my first lotus book! Thank you so much for a wonderful time, for sharing your creativity with all of us. Here are the pics.  Not the greatest, had to use a cat snoozie for a background and the light wasn’t quite right, but you’ll get the idea.Seems like a win-win during this Pandemic time. Stay safe! ~ Kate 
This book, from Anna, has such great pattern coordination – lucky someone, whoever gets this one!
And this note, from Carolyn, combines the Postcard book techniques with the Lotus Book! Brilliant!

 

Hi Lyn,
I’m having so much fun watching your classes and then working on the projects.  The first two photos are of the Lotus book.  I had cut out some 4×4 pieces from some scrap from the Postcards to Myself class and decided they would look great applied to a Lotus book.  The third photo is from the Postcards to Myself class but without the wax. They’re just the inspiration and distraction l needed. ~ Carolyn

 

My job in all of this is to encourage you to create with a purpose – creative thoughtfulness is a win-win.

 

Here’s the ink to the free Lotus Book workshop.

And here’s the link to the Postcard book – it’s not free but it’s  very affordable and will reward you will much gratitude fro your friends who are graced with your mail art!

 

Trust yourself, trust the process, and take good care this week –

 

Lyn

 

Sign up for Small Worlds – and last chance to enter Postcards drawing

Happy weekend! I wanted to send out a couple of reminders before tomorrow.

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If you haven’t signed up for the drawing for a free copy of my new interactive video eBook, Postcards to Myself, time runs out at midnight tonight. I’ll draw three names tomorrow for three free downloads of the book.

It’s getting  great response, which pleases me to no end, because it’s a book I wish I’d had when I started working in mixed media years ago.

ALSO —

My second Artful Gathering mixed-media class, “Small Worlds,” is up on Teachable and attracting good sign-ups – if you haven’t looked at the workshop, it’s a useful one, especially for people with small work spaces.

Here’s a sneak preview of Video Four from that workshop:

Video Link

As I was watching the Small World videos and remembering how much fun it was to work with Citra-Solv, it occurred to me that the product might not be available because of the pandemic. But Citra-Solv is still is readily available in health food stores, online, and at Amazon.

This is a user-friendly class for every level of experience and  and has techniques that will serve you well in almost any medium.

Finally, Here’s an inspirational graphic for you to download if you like – I’ve been trying to learn new versions of Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, and this little poster is my latest experiment. The quote appealed to me.  Robert Henri was an early 20th-Century American Painter who wrote a book called The Art Spirit (1923) which I have and highly recommend.

Download Poster (8.5 x 11″)

I hope you’re keeping your OWN spirits up, keeping safe,and keeping busy!

♥Lyn

 

 

Mexican Folk Art to Color – have fun!!

A long, long time ago (1987) I worked with Dr, Marion Oettinger at the San Antonio Museum of Art to produce a coloring book of some of the engaging pieces of art in the brand new Latin American Folk Art collection given to SAMA by Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Museum itself was only a few years old then.

I was working as a free-lance Illustrator for the San Antonio Express News at the time, and this was a fantastic chance to go behind the scenes at the museum to get a first-hand look at this comprehensive collection. Fun!

Long story short, earlier this week while I was doing my hunkered-down-at-home book organizing routine, I came across a copy of the coloring book we did. It’s called, appropriately enough, “Coloring the Folk Art of Mexico” and it was published by my dear friend David Bowen, whom so many of us still remember.

There are lots of folk art coloring books these days, but back then it was a novelty. We did a second printing with a different cover, but here’s the original version.

And here are a few original images from that coloring book for you to download and color (oh, boy!!) – you’ll be enhancing a little bit of San Antonio history with every mark you make!

Click on the download link below the small images to open and print the page-sized versions. The Devil Biker is my favorite. The Siesta one is the easiest to color. Staying in the lines is NOT required.

Download the Blouse

Download the Delivery Man

Download the Devil Biker

Download the Jar

Download SiestaTime

HAVE FUN COLORING . . .  AND TAKE GOOD CARE in your safe shelters !!

 

Hot off the virtual press – the Talisman workshop eBook

Happy May Day! I wanted to get this eBook up and available by May 1, and — tah dah — it’s ready! This is my first “workshop” eBook, and, hopefully, it has the feel of being right there in my studio with me.

Beeswax, Clay, Paper & Fiber Talismans is an interactive PDF eBook that you download instantly from my Etsy shop. There are eight videos, including two on making the waxed paper beads, along with a whole bunch of instructions and resources.

As you read along, you can click on the video link and watch it, then return to the page. It’s a pretty cool format. If you’ve ever downloaded instructional mixed media eBooks like 21 Secrets, it’s the same idea. The book belongs to you to read and watch as many times as you want to.

Here’s a look at the table of contents – the pages are hyperlinked to each section and each video.

This Talisman workshop is based on the one I did in Washington State with Joanna Powell Colbert, described here in an earlier post. I talk about that here in the intro to the workshop from Page 8 in the Talisman eBook.

Introduction to the Talisman eBook from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.


When you buy the eBook, you also get a discount on two talisman faces from my Etsy shop. But you don’t need these specific faces to make the Talisman – it’s just an option. I have never believed that you should have to have a specific brand or proprietary item to create a successful art project.

Workshops are a two-way communication, and if you get the Talisman eBook I will be here to answer any follow-up questions or take any suggestion that you think would make this book better. Just send an email to lyn@lynbelisle.com. If I use your suggestion in a revision, I’ll credit you in the acknowledgments and send you the newly revised version for free. The nice thing about interactive eBooks is that they are easily edited.

You can get the Talisman eBook from my website, where you can also find the Encaustic eBook and all of my instructional DVDs, or you can go directly to my Etsy shop to purchase it. The book with videos is $18 and if you want two of the faces as well, they are only $7 for two with the purchase of the book. Such a deal 🙂

This has been a fun project – and it has helped me get more organized! Thanks for all of the encouragement on this. And it sure is nice to be back in Texas on such a beautiful day! Vacations are fun, but there’s no place like home.

 

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Two spaces in Sunday’s workshop

Just a quick heads up, SHARDS readers – there are two spaces open in Sunday’s Lotus Book workshop if you’d like to join us. We’ll be working with collaged covers, including beeswax layers, and will complete at least two books each – 2-5 pm at my Olmos Drive studio.

Click on the image below for more info – bye for now!

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Re-use, re-read, re-ward

I have emerged from an intensive week of making videos for my two Artful Gathering workshops, which will be announced in February. They are cool, if I do say so myself. More soon about those classes.

Anyway, one of the ways I like to reward myself after a long project is to head to Half-Price Books – the one by Brackenridge Park is the only one that will do. I love the way the place smells of old books, and the way the stairs creak when you climb up to the Art Book room. It’s browsing therapy at its best.

Here’s what I scored yesterday –

A hardcover accordion-folded portfolio called A Shoal of Fishes by the Japanese Artist Hiroshige. It’s from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it’s gorgeous. It was hidden away on the bargain shelf for $3. What a find!

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Also, a book about books – this is a good one. It has references, projects, and inspiration – I can’t believe I didn’t already have this one. It was also my most expensive purchase at six bucks. Worth it.

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Finally – tah dah – a reproduction of the 1902 Sear and Roebuck catalog. This will be collage fodder and good reading for a long time!

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There’s nothing like rewarding yourself with a browse in a used bookstore. And it’s the best kind of recycling!

While you’re in the area, get over to the Twig Bookshop in the Pearl – my all-time favorite independent book seller. Happy creative browsing!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Mixing it up with Lesta

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Art Book: Lyn Belisle

I love teaching with Lesta Frank. She’s imaginative, patient, talented and funny, and she has a huge following of devoted students, some of whom met us at the Studio yesterday for a special workshop. Our idea was to create mixed media accordion books that would function as a little showcase for 6×6″ collages. The collages feature hand-decorated paper and digitally copied faces enhanced with oil pastel. You can see the prototype I made, above.

1The workshop was scheduled for half a day, but as soon as Lesta got into demonstrating surface design on paper, I could tell that we should have scheduled a full day because everyone was having so much fun.

We did manage to make a bunch of gorgeous paper, construct several small collages, put our gallery books together, and have time for a critique. We’ve invited the participants back for an extra two hour bonus session following Show and Tell this coming Saturday (more about that soon).

I think you can tell from the video below what an enjoyable mixed media afternoon this was – and you can be sure that we will schedule another one soon. Thanks, Lesta!

PS – congrats to artgirl3313@gmail.com who won the Friday Freebie Beeswax and Collage download – I’ll send you the download link right away, and thanks for subscribing.