Photo play with dragonfly pictures

 During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan I attended a break-fast (not breakfast, but break-fast) meal at the Islamic Art Museum with some friends (for those back in the U.S. who may be unfamiliar with Ramadan customs, Muslims generally fast during daylight hours during Ramadan). The Islamic Art Museum is one of the most beautiful places in KL. It's a quiet haven of contemplative art; I always feel renewed or inspired after spending time there.
 While we were waiting for the sun to set and for the restaurant to open, I noticed a dragonfly that had died in the most lovely spot, looking out of the most lovely window.
A window in the Islamic Art Museum.
I took way too many photos of the dragonfly.
It caught my imagination; it looked haunting.
Using a couple of arty photo apps on my phone (hipstamatic and instamatic amongst others), I tried to capture the mood and emotion the dragonfly evoked in me . 
 Some of these I made later, using the photos I took while there.
But anyway, here are a few of my favorite results/experiments.
RIP, beautiful dragonfly.


Dear Paper Cutter of My dreams,

You have cut hundreds and thousands of gi-normous book-binding boards for me for years and years. You have sliced countless large sheets of arches into smaller sheets of arches and large sheets of cardstock into smaller sheets of cardstock. But alas, this move was not kind to you.

Some mover recognized your ruggedness, but not your vulnerabilities. He packed you sloppily so that a precious tiny plastic piece on your guillotine broke off. I thought you could do without. Today, you let me know in no uncertain terms that this was not the case. I will try to let go. Thank you for all the service you have provided me over the years. Thank you for not cutting off my finger today.

Now, can you please please please tell me where I can find a Malaysian relative that might be looking for a new home?

Dear Big Daddy Printer,

Why oh why didn't you just tell me you were lonely? I thought you were broken. Ruined. The move had done you in, just as it did in Paper Cutter of My Dreams. All the repairmen said it was true. So I spent hundreds of dollars replacing you. Only for another repairman to stumble our way. He said he can fix you, no problem. What? Where was this guy last week? And where did he come from this week? I thought I already had that looked at -- more than once! Hmm. Next time you are lonely, well, I suppose there won't be a next time because the new printer can't be returned.

Hey, anybody out there: I'm your go-to person for 13x19 printouts in Kuala Lumpur. I've got a fleet of gigantic printers ready to do the job and taking up all the counter space in my studio.

Good thing I cleared some space by getting rid of that gigantic paper cutter.

Lightning Strikes! (A way of taking good reference photos for action drawings)

Lightning strikes!
I took these pictures using a method that I worked out during the Nevada mentor program last summer. It's a method of taking reference photos for action drawings.
I'd meant to post about this last fall but sometimes blogging has to take the back burner when there's lots going on. So here we are, better late than never.
While I was drawing the sketches for my mentor assignment, I was having a devil of a time capturing the movement of Dorothy tossing the pail of water on the wicked witch of the west.
When I first had the trouble, I tried what I usually have tried. I set my camera up on a shelf with the self-timer on and posed for a reference photo.
But it wasn't working.
Dorothy looked stiff and overly posed when I drew her. No matter how hard I tried.
I was brainstorming with my (patient) husband one night about it and he suggested that instead of photographing, I try videoing myself tossing the pail. So I did.

And I as I watched myself throw the pail I also remembered that I could pluck a single frame of the video out and save it as a picture. So I scrolled through the video, frame by frame, and picked a frame that I thought best caught the action. I used Quicktime pro to do this (if you are interested, type in "creating a still image from a movie" in help. I believe you do need the pro edition of Quicktime to do this but I'm not sure, you may be able to do it in regular Quicktime).
Voila! I had a decent reference photo that wasn't as stiff. By using the reference photo plucked from the video, I was able to draw a Dorothy that captured the action better. Yay!
Now the witches face...
That one was totally posed.
I bet she'd make the same face if she were caught in a thunder storm.

A Travel Journal Kit

Goals while packing for Spain (a few weeks ago):
1. Bring hardly any extra clothes
2. Bring way too many art supplies

I've gotten into a habit of making travel journals as I go. Instead of showing up at my destination with a book ready to be filled, I show up with supplies. Loose paper. Pens. Glue. Scissors. Paint. I brought it all with me on my recent trip to Spain.

I've got some fun arty/crafty/whimsy inspiration to share from my trip. Lots of collages. I'll post travel stuff in-between other posts for the next couple of weeks. Join me for the trip!

Travel journal packing list:
-colorful pens
-pencil sharpener
-colorful pen case
-funky pattern-cutting mini-scissors
-watercolor set
-small tubes of acrylics
-glue sticks
-photo squares --ESSENTIAL
-new travel water color brushes -- AWESOME! LOVED THEM
-scrappy acrylic brushes
-colored pencils
-date stamp and ink
-set of mini-letter stamps and ink
-lots of mix-match paper
-sewing needles

Oh ya, I also started with a cover this time. I made it using an old poster I bought when I was in Barcelona 10 years ago. I also used my sewing machine. Having the cover ahead of time gave me some guidelines for size as I collaged the pages.

To be continued...

A tool to make me drool and a new journal that does the same!

Look at what my awesome husband gave me for Christmas:
I'm not awesome at sewing by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted a sewing machine that I didn't have to spend hours adjusting the tension every time I used it so I could make crazy fun cloth journals and sew on paper. I tried it out last week on my very own new journal:
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this journal! Let's call it this month's journaling inspiration of the month.
It was sew fun to make.
And true to it's promise, my new sewing machine (named by Singer: Confidence) adjusts the tension automatically.
I switched back and forth from thick fabric to paper without adjusting anything (although I probably should change the needle next time).
I've already filled many pages in my new journal. I'm thinking of it as a "soujourn-al," or maybe a "sew-journal."
I like the word "sojourn." Besides meaning "a temporary stay somwhere," I think of it as a retreat, a break, an excursion outside of the ordinary.
So (Sew), I like my new sojournal (sewjournal).
And my new sewing machine. Did I mention that my new sewing machine makes all sorts of fancy stitches? It's a dream come true. Thanks Bryceroni!
Sorry for the overload of pictures, but the different pages and colors are just too fun not to share.
Almost everytime I develop a new kind of journal to sell it comes from me playing around with my own personal journals first.
Yay for play.
I should really show off the insides of journals with a video instead of 10 pictures. I'll try that out next time.

Now, what else can I sew?
And what do you do to sojourn?