Studio insights, classes and tutorials

Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking ahead.....

The year is coming to an end.  Always a time of reflection on the past and wondering what God has in store for me in the new year.  As a child and young adult, it never really meant more to me than celebrating and staying up late to ring in the New Year and watch the ball drop.  Never thinking much beyond the celebration.
This painting signifies my thoughts and dreams for this coming New Year.  As I began to layer her hat in my journal, I began to build one thought upon another.  Wishing, hoping, health, happiness and so on.  Building a foundation, so to speak.  Without a foundation, we have nothing to build our hopes and dreams upon.
Nothing to catch us when we fall or stumble. 

As the year, 2015 begins, I want to make sure I keep that foundation solid.  We never know what a year can bring.  As I reflect back at this past year, there were many challenges that we did not foresee.  Disappointments, illness, set backs, family issues and so on.  Things that never entered my mind as we ushered in the new year with good friends.  
We will celebrate with friends, once again.  A nice dinner, laughs, memories, a game and a champagne toast at midnight.  Thanking God, once more, for his faithfulness, my foundation. 

May you have a blessed New Year with lots of love, hope, health, prosperity and art!


Monday, December 15, 2014

A Time for Giving and Crafting

Enjoy making your own gift cards and ornaments.  I recently took an online class and got inspired to make some of my own.  I don't always have all the supplies that are listed in the class menu, but usually find a way to substitute items on the supply list and try to make it my own.

These adorable miniature journals are so much fun, using tea bag paper.  Yes, a great way to recycle your used tea bags!  Inspired by Jenny Wentworth.

Here is a picture of one ready to go, along with a tea bag, tea bag string and washi tape.  Just dry and carefully empty the tea bag, remove the string and fold it open.
Here is a pic of most of the supplies used.  Love these little packs of watercolor paper I found on ebay.  I have used them in a variety of ways and they were perfect for this project.
Cut your watercolor paper, approximately 2 1/2 x 2 1/2.  Also cut two sheets drawing paper twice the size
of the watercolor paper.  Fold in half and put aside.  With Matte medium and washi tape, attach both front and back of journal.  If you want the border edge wider,  add another strip to the front.  Allow tea bag to dry and carefully open it up and dispose of the loose tea.  Then, proceed with cutting the tea paper the size of front and back cover and attach with the Matte medium.  I like to use DecoArt.   While cover is drying,  attach tea bag string inside, to the fold of the journal.  I like to use Tacky glue.  Proceed with the two folded sheets and add the glue onto the folded edge. You should then have four pages.  You now have a perfect little journal!
For the tree journal, I cut out a stencil from a card.  Using texture paste, stipple into the cutout with a stiff brush.  When dry, stipple in shades of green and white high light.  The star was cut from carboard.  Antique with brown paint around subject and edges of the journal.  Add silver and grey metallic for added interest.

I like to draw and paint my design on a separate piece of paper and then attach it to the tea paper.  Just in case I do not like how it turns out.  I did that with the face and with my Santa.  Then, add texture paste in an around the hard edges so it blends into the paper and does not look like a cut out.  Use any Christmas stamps to stamp the backs of each journal.
Here is my Santa sketch with texture paste added to the tree and fur onto his his suit.  He was inspired by a little antique Santa I have in my collection.
 I not only used my old playing cards for stencils, but also made them into fun little gift tags.  This is from a child's card playing deck.  I used old Christmas card images, a verse of Silent Night and attached them with gesso.  Cut and gesso a tree from burlap, dry brush with two shades of green and add a stem.  Punch a hole for your ribbon or jute.
My neighbors and I had a fun afternoon making these wine cork ornaments.  A great way to use old jewelry finds, buttons and for all those corks you have laying around.  If you do not have any, you can purchase them by the bag at Michael's.
I hope you try and make some of these ornaments on your own.  A special touch attached to a gift.  They will love that you made it especially for them!

If you have any questions or would like to post some of your own hand made journals or ornaments, I would love to hear from you.

Have a very blessed Christmas!


Friday, December 5, 2014

On the first day of Christmas...........

The twelve days of Christmas.



Join me on my facebook page, Light and Lovely Designs by Ursula.
I will be posting a new project each day.  A fun way to celebrate and share ideas with you.  Like my page and have fun creating your own holiday projects.

Thanks and enjoy this magical time and month as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November..A time to pause and give thanks

So many blessings to be thankful for and so many opportunities to share those blessing with those we love.
We had the opportunity to eat dinner prepared by a Mennonite family last week.  Thirty two people from our church, drove 35 miles in a car caravan to eat and share some time together and in a home of a dear Mennonite woman and her staff of two.  The meal consisted of roast beef, mashed potatoes, two salads, home made bread, green beans, noodles and three different pies.  I chose the coconut cream pie and tasted my husband's peanut butter pie. Both to die for! We ate in their modest home where they host these meals on a weekly basis.  All severed family style. The home was decorated country style and had most of the modern conveniences we have grown accustomed to.   A nice experience and would recommend making reservations if you are ever in the Seymour, Missouri area.  
I also have had the pleasure of working in my studio and want to share a couple of projects with you.  I am very thankful when I have time to paint, draw and create.  It's what keeps me sane!
Here is my latest woodland girl, "Lost girl"  Painted with acrylics on a birch wood board.  The leaf detail was added by a stamp I made.  I loved painting the feathers and her fur scarf.  This inspiration came to me from a local magazine of girls modeling their clothes out in the woods.  Fitting for this time of year.  She is for sale if anyone is interested.

My next project is a large wooden snow flake ornament.  I thought it made a great blank canvas and decided to do an image transfer of a deer on it.
I lightly sanded the piece and then added gesso to the center, adding text from an old reader.

I found this deer image on pinterest.  Gathered my scissors, cut around the image, as closely as possible.
Brushed Deco Art Matte Medium onto the text and lay the image down facing the text.  Brush more Matte Medium to the top and allow to thoroughly dry.
Wet the area with both water and Matte Medium and begin to gently scrub with a dry paper towel or brush  until the image is complete.  The brush works best for me.
Using a stabilo pencil and charcoal, define your lost edges, details and add greenery.  I also added a few red berries with white highlights.

Antique the edges with Deco art brown.  Splatter snowflake edges with white.  A fun and easy project to make with the family or as a gift.

Enjoy this beautiful time of thanks as you share time with family and friends.

                               Have a blessed Thanksgivng!! 



Monday, November 10, 2014

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.

Cool crisp leaves under foot, a rainy day walk in the woods, discovering berries, leaves and branches.  A wonderful way to clear the head and heart.  I am lucky enough to live in a wooded area where we see so many of God's creatures.  Deer walking by the window, wood chucks, wood peckers, wild turkeys, eagles, falcons and more.  Some of which I could do without, like skunks, snakes and  possums, oh my!

It has been a stressful month of hospital trips with my husband.  I am so thankful that he is well again, but the woods and my studio have helped me keep focused and thankful for what I have.  Taking an online class of Woodland girls with Jeanne Oliver, made me more aware of my surroundings.  The class came at a very good time for me. She encouraged us to go out, collect, draw, paint and sculpt from natures' bounties.  This gave me the prompt to go out instead of sitting around and worrying.  Giving a little of myself to nature and receiving so much more in return.

I have had an old reader that I turned into a art journal.  As I have said in the past, I love painting on the old pages.  The day I wanted to go out and gather, it was raining.  Not pouring, but a gentle rain.  I loved how the rain drops sounded hitting my umbrella and the crunching of the leaves underneath. 

 The pages on the left are my gatherings, the right are my watercolor drawings of what I found.  This was such a fun idea and I wanted to share it with you.
I love picking up feathers found on the ground.  I have an entire jar full of them as part of my decor.  This is one I found last spring.  
Next, I painted on a wood slice, old book cover and in my watercolor art journal.  Love painting these nature beauties.
Where do you go when you are stressed and life gives you a little more than you can handle?  The woods gave me the peace I needed, away from phones and emails.  I felt God's peacefulness, encouragement and sense that everything will be alright.

I hope you take the time to look around you. walk in the woods the park, start a journal and enjoy this wonderful season of Thanksgiving.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Falll In The Ozarks

The theme of fall continues on.  I never really thought about fall being my favorite season of the year, but it seems to be the subject of late.  So many colors, mums, pumpkins, hay rides, parties, festivals, fire pits and more.  Love walking in the neighborhood to see how everyone has embraced the season with their outdoor decor. 

A few friends and I took a day trip down to Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri.  A lovely day for a drive and the leaves were beginning to turn.  Tree tops were kissed by the sun and colors of purple, orange, yellow and brown were seen as we made our way through the Ozark mountains.  Another week or so, the trees will be in full splendor.

The annual Fall Festival was under way and artists from all over the country were there, demonstrating and displaying their craft.

 Linda talking to one of the wood carvers. John Engler, who is part of the Engler family.  His uncle, Peter was a well known wood carver and his works are still sold and cherished by collectors.

This handsome cowboy was the featured artist in the festival.  He is not only an accomplished artist, but he was on a popular tv show years back.
Buck Taylor from Gunsmoke days.  When he saw me take his photo, he suggested we take one together.  It made my day!  If you have time, go on line and read about his tv days and about his art.
It was fun talking to the different artists and seeing some of the shows.  Lunching outdoors on a checkered table cloth, taking in a couple of shows and treating ourselves to warm apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream.

As you can see, we had a great day. 

Hope you too can enjoy a few outdoor activities.  Take a walk, sip some hot cider and enjoy the season.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bits and Pieces

Our fall weather has been unbelievable.  Always a favorite time of the year. Warm days and cool nights.  Time to put away my flip flops and bring out my closed toe shoes and boots.  Leggings, jeans, scarves and sweaters are fun to wear, but coat weather is on the horizon and not one of my favorite accessories to wear. 
Love the different textures she has put together here.  An outfit I would feel comfortable and fashionable wearing. 

We have had a bumper crop of walnuts this year.  Living on a wooded lot with so many trees brings it's challenges.

 This is just a fraction of what we have picked up so far.  They drop all around you as you are picking them up.  Walking across the lawn or driving up the drive way is a challenge as well.  The UPS driver drove up yesterday and ran over dozens of them, sounding like multiple gun shots.  No one can sneak up on us.

Fall is not only a time to change your wardrobe, clean up the yard, plant bulbs, but also for moving indoors and decorating or redecorating your home.

This is a home that I have almost completed for a client.  A very fun project and a great person to work with.  Not only was it fun to work with her and her lovely home, we have become good friends in the process.  Each piece here was purchased at a different location and the table opens up to seat 6-8. We took one day and drove 70 miles to shop and found these great iron lamps among many other things. 
She loved the text print fabric, but we decided to keep it at a minimum and just do the cushions and some throw pillows for the sofa.  This way, there is not too much of the fabric and easy to change down the road.
All the upholstery pieces were custom ordered. 
The kitchen table and chairs are custom made and love the distressed look and the contrast of the maple table and dark walnut stain of the chairs.  Both show the wood grain through the finish.  A little rustic, but more refined.
Fun little touches were added here and there.  Creating interest, texture and warmth to the space.  The distressed candle stand can be changed out with the seasons.  A pumpkin now and a Santa for Christmas.

They purchased the existing coffee table and leather pieces from the previous owner.  We recovered an existing recliner, added the fuzzy textured rug, some end tables and fireplace accessories.  The next step is on it's way.  Custom shelving will be added behind the sofa for family pictures and a few more accessories.

The house is still a work in progress.  We searched high and low for many of the items to fit into their proper places.  We added texture and interesting elements where we could.  The bedroom and master bath are very pretty as well. 
Each time I work on a home, it pushes me to add or change something in my own space.
Fall, a time of change, gorgeous weather and finding inspiration.  Be it in clothing, working outdoors or decorating.  Where will you find yours!

See you soon,
Happy Fall!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fall Open House

Fall Open Houses are popping up everywhere.  Pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins.  Different sizes, shapes and colors. 
Love this photo of the store I have the privilege of working in.  The walls are brimming with pumpkins and the scent of fall.  We had open house last weekend and also attended a few others.  Very inspiring and the one purchase I did make, was a white ceramic  pumpkin that I wanted to paint on something.

I gathered some of my supplies and headed down to my studio and began to experiment with my DecoArt mixed media fluid acrylics. 
I had this tin dish I purchased at a garage sale, gathered vintage papers, a rough wood block, pencils and paints.  I like to save pieces of unused watercolor projects and later use them in my designs.  Never throwing anything of value out, you never know when you can use them.  Love the old botanical pages I found in an old agricultural book.  I cut some of them out and used them as is, just adding washes of color to them.

This is the tin that I first washed with black.  Cut out the pumpkin shape from my vintage papers, added leaves from the botanical pages and stem.  Words were printed off the computer. Just washed the colors onto the pumpkin so the paper would show through.  Added washes and spatters of color to the entire piece.  Then, using a stamp and a green stamp pad, randomly stamped the edges and onto the pumpkin.  With my finger, I added more color under the pumpkin and to the top edges of the tray.  A very fun and quick project.  
The wood block was washed with black as well. This was left over from our renovation project.  I usually gesso them first, but wanted the wood grain to show through.  I added the large watercolor leaf to the right and then vintage papers for the other leaves and stems.  Adding washes and the same technique used for the tray.  This piece was more developed and no stamps were added.  Love finger painting to apply tints of color to the edges and patting around the foreground. 

 I also had a stack of greeting cards I started last week, not knowing what I would use them for. The empty space was perfect for a pumpkin. The butterfly, lettering and vintage paper were applied earlier.  I just added the pumpkin  with my stabilo pencil, then washed in some white and orange paint.  Added the stamp and some pen work.  Using water on the stabilo markings adds the shading. It also blends well with wet paint.

It's fun to use what you have on hand, especially when you get inspired.  My next project will be to paint some pumpkins on a few pillows that I purchased on sale.  The light burlap will be perfect for a fall still life.

What Harvest Memories will you be painting?

See you soon.