Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Believe 2014

BELIEVE: (verb)  1. accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of. 2. hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose.    SYNONYMS:  think, be of the opinion that, have an idea that, imagine, suspect, suppose, assume, presume, take it, conjecture, surmise, conclude, deduce, understand, gather, fancy, guess, dare say

It's a word used everyday in real life, the art world, journals, greeting cards, tv diatribes, talk shows, etc.  I haven't even chosen it for a rubber stamp because so many other people have. It's a word you don't even really think about because it is so pervasive.  That is until what you believe is tested.  What you thought was true, is not.  What you believe on faith only, wavers.  It's easy to say you believe in something or believe something to be true until that moment.  And the aftermath of that moment.  That is when what you really believe becomes apparent.  Life is full of these moments.  Some we chose to engage, and some we chose to let slip by, clinging to what we KNOW is true.  My moments to engage came over eight weeks this fall.  I am still in the aftermath.  I am still making sense of it.  I am still seeking the truth that I so want to believe.  It's an intense process that becomes all encompassing.  It's a process that is lonely.  It's a process that you must go through to accept the new normal. This process will continue on into the opening moments, maybe weeks of 2014. 

I celebrate my personal journey with this piece of art.  The focal piece was a Citrasolv piece that I originally manipulated early in the fall.  I played with it a little in November, adding some more solution and then using some foil and alcohol inks to enhance the color.  Today, I used Jessica Sporn's 9 x 12 stencil for  StencilGirl to create the focal ledge using Titan Buff, Mars Black, and Bronze Golden Acrylics.  The charm is actually a left over from a Charming Charlie's necklace that I used for something else.  PPA holds the metallic fibers together. 

Happy New Year to all.  I am looking forward to 2014.  I hope you are, too.  


Ephemera Paducah, Paducah, KY :  March 7 & 8   2 all day classes
Stamper's Ink, Kansas City, MO :     April 11 & 12  3 classes

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jingle all the Way

Well,  it's the wee hours of Christmas Eve day if you celebrate.  It's December 24 if you don't (just sit back and enjoy all the hubbub of last minute frenetic activity if you don't.)  I've been with family for a couple of weeks and there's nothing that means more to me.  Jim finally joined Sammi and I over the weekend at my sister's so except for the dogs (who are at the spa - our politically correct terminology) we are able to see everyone.  The recent snowfalls made it a little difficult to move Sam out of her current college, but were beautiful to see in the woods that dominate the Pennsylvania landscape.  We are happy to see her move forward to our alma mater, Gettysburg College in January.  She will continue preparation for getting her Doctorate in Physical Therapy there and we will get to have a lot of Pizza House, our favorite spot.

Knowing that I was coming east for the rest of the month, I did work on this project in my own humble studio before I left.  I've just been stitching since I've been here so that is a nice break from what I usually do. I decided I wanted a little celebration that could sit in an easel in my new sunroom.  Once I knew size it was easy to figure out what I wanted to use.

To begin, I took a 4" x 4" Dick Blick canvasboard and painted it with two light coats of Golden Fluid Acrylic Titan Buff.

I then used the new Red Rubber Pallete from Rubbermoon.  This is a very firm piece of backed rubber that can be used with many different mediums.  I chose Golden acrylics in Titan Buff, Silver,  and Bronze to mix in a thick layer on the palette.  To create an interesting pattern, I took one of the Catalyst Silicone Blades, and ran it through the paint, before grabbing a 2" x 2" piece of Stampbord ( a small clayboard piece by Ampersand).  I then gently pressed the front of the white Stampbord into the paint and pulled straight up.  It pulled a texture from the blade and allowed for some peaking of the paint as well.  This was set aside to dry.

While my piece of Stampbord was drying, I repeatedly stamped the jingle x 3 stamp with StazOn onto a scrap of white art tissue paper.  I tore it haphazardly and then affixed it to the canvas with Golden matte medium

While the other two pieces were drying, I stamped the Christmas Tree in a Pot stamp onto another scrap of tissue paper.  I then trimmed it and mounted with matte medium it in the center of the now dried, painted Stampbord. 

Once mounted and dried, I added color with Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks in rust, espresso, and bottle with a liner brush as well as a dollop of white gesso for the star on top of the tree. 

Before mounting the Stampbord, I cut a 2 3/8" x 2 3/8" piece of spruce colored cardstock to act as a mount.  I then mounted both with Scoretape. Once mounted, I wanted a tiny bit more texture so I added small dots of Golden bronze with a toothpick. 

I hope you enjoyed this little project.  As many of you are starting to tell, I love to work small.  

Enjoy this wonderful time of the year no matter what or how you celebrate. Thanks for following me on my journey this year!  Stay tuned for 2014....................

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wishes and Gratitude

I've been reading all the posts of thankfulness on the internet all month.  I really do love to read what's important to everyone...the big things, the little things, the funny things.  It makes me think more about my life and what I have versus what I don't have.  We've had a rocky fall in our household, so rocky, that at times it has been overwhelming.  We are so lucky to have each other, though,  and that realization is what came through when I was putting together the composition of this piece. As many of you know, my daughter, Sam, and husband, Jim, mean everything to me.  Long story short, Jim was my best friend for years before we ended up together after graduate school and Sam came along to complete our family after many long years of infertility.  We've always lived far from family so we became our own insulated trio from the get go.  The three of us share a huge love of music, which is why the house is made of sheet music.  The pumpkins signify the bounty of fall this week before Thanksgiving, our family bounty in the good times and bad,  and all the trips we made to the pumpkin patches in the various cities we lived in while she was growing up.  I believe the mobile with stars was really meant to be a baby card image but to me is a reminder of how long I wished on stars before Sam became part of our family and then wished many things for her when she was here in our nursery.  In fact, I am still wishing all of the time.  I actually did this piece because of the tree.  One of my favorite family moments occurred two years ago when there was a Chinese exhibit at the Botanical Garden here in St. Louis.  There was a wishing tree that you could tie a red ribbon on and make a wish on.  We all three made wishes and Jim shot some pictures of us.  One of them is my facebook status picture right now.  It was a simply wonderful day. I revisit it a lot and am thankful that there are days like that.  I have wonderful friends, a sister I couldn't live without, and extended family that I've been happy to see a lot of this fall.  My blessings are many. 

Now for the Rubbermoon art!!!!!  I knew I wanted to do a piece primarily in black and white, but I am not a scenic stamper at all so I had to put on my thinking cap for a while.  While I was getting my ideas together, I chose two pieces of cut canvas from Linnie Blooms and brush painted them black and and red.  while waiting for them to dry, I found a piece of 6" x6" matte coated paper and chose some stamps that I wanted in the composition.

I am not an expert in scenic stamping by any means, but decided to wholeheartedly delve in.  I began with the wishing tree (DB4263) and  tall pumpkin (GE2818) to form the bottom of the scene.  You'll see later on I decided to cover up one of the pumpkins.  I added the star mobile (DB4898H) and dk crescent (KP5108B) to finish off the sky.  For good measure, I added some of my own drawn stars.  Just because I could.  All black stamping was done with StazOn and drawing with a thin Sharpie.  (I would tempt you with the last two, but my tired eyes had trouble finding them on the site to provide a link.)  They are available for order.

 I nestled the house among the pumpkins and added the heart as a faux chimney.  Both were affixed with heavy double-sided tape. 

I needed a few finishing touches before mounting to make this scene come more alive.  I chose my own stamps, "joy" and "hope",  to add some words representing my wishes. I don't have a "thanks" so I hand-lettered that vertically to match.   I chose the Music notes on black (GE2737)to create a design on the house.  I used white paint brushed on to the stamp and loved the texture it brought to the front of the house.  Stampwise, I finally added my "love" stamp to the heart.

To add more color, I used Golden Fluid Acrylic bronze to fill in the moon and stars.  I then added bronze nailheads to the black stars and near the ribbons connected to the words. A row of nailheads completed the roof as well.

To finish the piece, I cut a 6 1/4" x 6 1/4" piece of red paper to use as a mat and attached both to an 8" x 8" canvas panel with heavy double-sided tape.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013


Wonderment.  I love that word and knew I had to attach myself to it on my first plate of stamps.  I love it because of the level of emotion describes.  I love it because it is rarely used anymore in this form.  I love it because that feeling of admiration and amazement is such a joyous feeling. And finally, I love it when you just happen upon it...yes, happenstance (another favorite word).

I often look at art with wonderment.  Mostly other people's, but every once in a while I look at something I've done and it takes my breath away.  Not necessarily because it's the best thing I've ever done, but because of the journey I've been on that I never expected to begin.  People's creativity does give me pause.  Ideas that I would never have in a million years or in a million years would never be able to execute just take me to another place totally.  So, not a surprise that art would cause wonderment, but I've spent some time thinking about what else does.

  • trees...really any.  I am fascinated by their lines, their history, their everything
  • old couples holding hands....I'd love to know their story
  • "anticipation" during the month of December.  This covers everything from lights, to traditions, to family time, to a service on the 24th.  
  • the ocean....I could sit next to it or be on it for quite some time without getting bored.  It's another place where I tend to lose myself in my thoughts.
  • Sam.  best thing I ever did.  I think Jim would agree.  Those who know me well know the backstory.  It isn't pretty.
  • time.  memories. moments.  
That's just my short list.  I am sure there are more.  What causes you to feel that crescendo of wonderment? Oh, and be sure to check out my spot on RubberMoon's blog from last week.  Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


My Citrasolv explorations continued today while I was handling some other mundane matters.  The lure of the pages ready for more play just pulled me in.  I did get a load of laundry done.  I will make dinner.  I did train Angus a bit.  Ok...not very long.  I guess I should stop leaving the pile of pages on the island in my kitchen with the Citrasolv bottle next to it.  Let's get started......

So the first picture is what I started with.  This was a set of pages that the ink didn't quite move as much as I would have liked.  I did them several weeks ago and just put them in a pile of rejects.
You can see why I looked at these pages as collateral damage in the scheme of Citrasolv movement.  But they also became a challenge to see if I could obliterate the original composition and create something new and interesting.  I know I am a broken record, but I really love to do this.
I took Terri Stegmiller's delicate floral stencil and placed in on top of the page.  I used a GOOD paper towel that I dipped in fresh Citrasolv and began rubbing off color through the stencil. I continued until I had done both pages. It still didn't obliterate the coral as much as I wanted but I was hopeful. 
I decided that it needed a bit more noise before I took the brush to it.  I used various sizes of punchinella and added the circle noise haphazardly in the background.

It was now time for the additive part of the process to begin.  The next two pictures show how I again used leftover pieces of the page to begin adding color to my emerging composition. I used a Citra dedicated liner brush and reactivate some of the bluey-purple color and took it to the pages.  I concentrated first on the centers of the flowers that I thought were too bland. 

Next, I took some other colors that I took from those same scraps (turned over).  I added more color throughout in a pointillism method alternating with a sliding motion to move the activated ink around and set about morphing the background more.

I was pretty pleased with the changes that occurred.  It is amazing what you can do using a page as a palette.  It isn't as stark as some of my other manipulations, but it seemed to suit the delicacy here.
To being the finishing process, I flipped the design upside down, added a delicate floral in black ink throughout the piece,  and trimmed it to fit a large piece of purple cardstock. I then used one of my own stamps with black StazOn and a black Sharpie to distess the edges.  No, I usually don't use a ruler when I am trying to give it a vintage feel.  I fell in love with the raw edge, though.

Since there was a raw edge that I wanted to keep at the bottom, I added a sliver of cream cardstock to square it all off within the purple mounting. A tattered floral finished it off nicely. I am pretty happy with the changes and really enjoyed the challenge.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I keep returning over and over to playing with Citrasolv ink manipulation so today when I finally had some free time to do what I wanted to do, I spent some time introducing new tools and colorants to add and subtract to the organic image from the original movement of ink.  One of the most interesting things I have noted is that these inks from the National Geographics can be reactivated over and over again to produce results (at least weeks) after the initial melting of the ink.  That means you can stockpile papers and create new art from the organic image at will.  I love that. YOU will love that.

I worked on two different pieces today.  Both came from manipulations I worked on in September simply by spraying Citrasolv into the page of a National Geographic.  They air dried then and were put way in a plastic bag.  One thing I neglected to do today was to take a beginning picture after the initial manipulation.  Mea Culpa.  So the beginning picture that I have from today is one from this morning where I spent time using dip pens with more Citrasolv to move the ink again....a thicker parallel type pen and very thin nib.  Both produced interesting results.  The thicker nib rediscributed the ink and created new caverns and ridges, lights and darks.  The thinner one was used to add more abstract detail.  I washed each nib out immediately after finishing.
I continued adding and subtracting until I felt that a whole new composition had been created around the Citrasolv happenstance.

After allowing some drying time, I spot added some color back into the composition with a very tiny liner brush and Ranger Adirondack alcohol ink.  I really enjoyed adding some personality to the piece.  I used Germex to clean my brush between color changes.  91% rubbing alcohol would do the trick even better, but my cupboard was bare.
I could have worked on it forever and even found that I could alternate more Citrasolv reduction with alcohol ink addition.  It worked very well together and the transparency of the alcohol inks complemented the visual texture already finished.You will notice in the next picture that the piece has been turned 180 degrees.  I don't often change it's orientation that late in the game, but I decided that that white lip on the top would be a perfect place for a word I am playing around with on my next plate.  So, I flipped it.  Then I mounted it on black glossy.  I don't know where it's final resting place will be, but I am pleased with it's new life.  The page originally was one of my least favorites and now it has new life.
I was so happy with how the first one turned out that I played with a second page that I believe was a picture of a seal. It's pictured here lying on it's side.  I was unhappy with the incompleteness of the ink dissolution so this was the perfect page to play with.

I used the same tools to move more of the ink and to take away the seal like face.  I also turned it 90 degrees counterclockwise. I liked that orientation better for what I was thinking I would do.  I decided on this one to do a quick sketch with India ink in the same pen nibs I had been using.  I used the lights and darks I created by moving the ink, to become the backdrop for a contemporary flower. 
After I got the detail I wanted with this quick sketch, I cut down the paper to a manageable 5 1/2" x 51/2" square.  It's then you can see the flower come to life.  It isn't fighting with all the unused background anymore.
I decided to finish this piece off with a simple mat pulling out a color from the piece and a white 8" x 8" canvas.
I'll sign it and name it tomorrow.  Nothing came to mind immediately.  Any suggestions, just let me know! 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

November 2 Classes in St. Louis

I cannot believe it is already almost mid-October.  I've been in and out of the area dealing with family stuff and teaching in the western side of the state.  I've got some other irons in the fire that will keep me busy for the rest of the year, but I'll be teaching the last classes for the year on November 2 at For Keeps Sake in the metro St. Louis area. For those that haven't been to FKS in a while, they have really added many new products and classes that appeal to people wanting to experiment in different mediums with different tools.  You should check it out if you are in the area. 

My classes in November include one new one and one favorite.  I will teach Gesso Illusions in the morning ( 10:00-12:30 PM )which will feature a varied exploration of what gesso can do for you in your art. The piece of art above is one example from this class.  The second class, Tattered and Torn (1:30-4 PM) is one of my favorites especially since I'll be including some shaving cream marbling...always a crowd favorite.
In the meantime I'll be working on my second plate of stamps, some text, some images and some other interesting things coming up.  Oh, and Citrasolv.....I am still in love! 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

StencilGirl Map Stencil Blog Hop: WE ALL GO A LITTLE MAD SOMETIMES

Welcome to the StencilGirl Map Blog Hop!!!!!  If you arrived from Rose Wilde's page,  you are in the right place.  If not, you can follow the list at the bottom of my post and start from the beginning. 

I was positively thrilled when Mary Nasser asked me to join in this StencilGirl blog hop.  Even better....it is my first one!  I have long been enthralled with Mary's map collage art.  I was not at all surprised that map stencils arrived on the StencilGirl doorstep.  It seemed a fait accompli. For me, the hardest part of the whole thing was picking which stencil to focus on since all are divine.  I ended up choosing the MAP 6 stencil, shown here: 

For the past two weeks I have been absorbed in Citrasolv ink manipulation so I chose to place the stencil on top of a saturated page that was originally a seal in San Francisco (National Geographic loves animal photography) and I let the Citrasolv do it's magic and reactivate the inks on the clay-coated paper.  It was not a perfect manipulation but somehow that fit for what I was trying to accomplish and as I will show, that can be remedied.  I love the happenstance of this technique every time I do it.  More  Citrasolv explorations can be found here

I knew at this point I was going to try to revive some more ink to fill in some of the roads that didn't quite reactivate as I wanted them to so I went ahead and added a matting paper with some two sided adhesive tape.  That step could come later and should if you need a lot of Citrasolv to add some detail.  I knew I didn't need much so it was fine to do it now.

I replaced the stencil back on top and carefully looked so see what I wanted to add back into the print.  My eye was always drawn to the lower right quadrant so that's where I decided to focus my energies.

It is very easy to add more revived ink to your print by using Citrasolv again.  I used the cap from the bottle and a synthetic liner brush to activate ink from an unused portion of the page and slid the brush under the stencil lines where I wanted more detail. It worked like a dream.

Once I was happy with the amount of detail, I added the words from one of my new stamps into  the individual crevices of the map.  I simply stamped each word individually with StazOn and the wonky nature of the phrase seemed to go well with the haphazard nature of the map.  I loved the marriage of Mary's stencil with my phrase.  This photo also shows the amount of detail I was able to add back into that quadrant.  Yess........

The final mounting included a strip of white paper and an 8" x 8" canvas panel that was painted black prior to the mounting.  I used double sided sheets of adhesive to attach it all to the canvas.

There you have it!  This is my portion of the blog hop!  I hope you enjoyed yourself.  Stencils are so fun to be used in a variety of ways.  I am happy to say that these StencilGirl stencils stand up to the Citrasolv very well, but I do clean them immediately after I am done with running water.


Mary Nasser will be doing a giveaway for this hop – giving away a set of her  four new stencils. ALL the comments on each blog participating will be eligible for the drawing. So what do you do?   All you have to do is leave a comment by 11:59 PM Central Time on October 4th. The more blogs that you comment on in the blog hop, the more chances you have to win.  Plus, you don't want to miss any of these wonderful blog entries.  They are sure to impress and inspire!!!!

Have a splendid time on this hop and good luck in the givewaway!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vortex: Experimentations in Ink Manipulation

For me, art can be like a vortex in a loose interpretation.  I find myself being drawn into a process and keep wanting to know more about it, what works, what doesn't, and my mind whirls until I am satisfied that I have exhausted everything I can think of that day.  Then the next day comes and the next.  I am on my second week of exploring Citrasolv ink manipulation.  No two pieces are alike so it is fascinating and fresh every time you do it.  There are many tutorials online as well as you tube videos that will bring you up to speed with the process.  Key is buying the correct Citrasolv.....a concentrate version and a National Geographic magazine ( 1970 +  is recommended due to the clay coating of the article pages. )  Good ventilation is advised as well even though the product's toxicity is lower than some.  I also use disposable gloves because prolonged skin exposure is not advised.

I prefer to use a small spray bottle to add the Citrasolv on a table outside.  I spray ampily on the pages with pictures once the articles start (no ads)  and wait about 15-30 minutes before checking the magazine.  Every time you open a page up it will stir up the ink so I try not to open it often.  If the pages are done, I begin tearing them out and lay them out to dry.  If parts didn't "melt", I add more Citrasolv and wait.  They dry in a few hours inside, but even quicker outside if it's possible. Below is a part of the page I used before I began phase two of the manipulation.
For this piece, I decided to further manipulate the page manually.  The beauty of this process is that you can begin again after a page is dry.  The ink easily becomes moveable with minimal effort. I used the Citrasolv in the lid and a liner paintbrush and set out to draw some spirals.  I varied their size and their orientation, blotting along the way to remove the rest of the ink.  After that was complete, I used the paintbrush into the unused are of the page to wet the dark background and use that ink to make shadows in the spirals.
Not too bad of a start, but it needed some contrast.  To add that, I used a dip pen and India ink.  I varied the nib size and varied the treatment of each spiral to add interest.  I was pleased with the change.  The composition began to come together with this step.
I felt the edges needed to be finished to complete the composition before mounting.  A black Copic was used in a very haphazard way that complimented the mood of the piece.I then chose a  mounting color attached with two sided tape.  (Note:  I promise it's a little straighter than this picture suggests.)
It was at this time I moved the piece around and decided how I wanted it positioned on the canvas.  I then added one of my new stamps to finish it off and mounted it onto a pre-painted black 8" x *" canvas panel.  The piece was complete once it was named and signed.
Stay tuned for the more experiments.  I have a lot to show.  You'll see it first on my Facebook art page.   LIKE the page to stay current. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


I had a wonderful weekend in Shawnee, KS at Stamper's Ink.  It hasn't been often in my sixteen years of travel that I've felt totally comfortable on my first visit to the store, but that was certainly the case there.  I had a wonderful turnout for a Friday afternoon demo and three full classes.  In this day and age of less disposable income, it was so nice that people came out to my classes and to support the store.

It was also the perfect weekend as my stamp line was introduced at the demo and in all my classes.  It was so fun watching everyone enjoy the words.  I posted a lot of their art on my Nancy Curry Art page on facebook.  There work was quite good and as always, unique, since my favorite classes are outcomes that are different every time.  Oh, and stop by and LIKE my page to stay on top of the latest meanderings.

So now that I have decompressed somewhat and unpacked mostly from the trip, I have to admit that I had to play today with some Citra Solv and National Geographics.  I've been fascinated with the ink manipulation process for awhile, but never made time to explore.  Well, today I did and I was very pleased with the results.  I'll share a few next time! 

Monday, September 09, 2013

Indian Summer

It was 97 today in September.  Yep.  Not a typo.  Luckily I have a lot of indoor prep for classes at Stamper's Ink this weekend.  I am so excited to be headed there for my inaugural weekend of classes.  I think it is going to be a lot of fun for all.  I love large classes of enthusiastic people and I love to demo too, so I get to do that and meet n greet, book sign, etc.-----featuring my line of stamps and mixed media, of course!!!!
Other news of importance (in no particular order).  Tomatoes.  Tomahtos.  Our crop is in.  I am eating bowl fulls for lunches.  So yes, I will be taking my mouth ulcers with me this weekend.  Jim did an outstanding job with his plants this year so I am a happy wife.  Angus....yes, he's still with us and is 21 weeks tomorrow.  He is in the throes of puppy kindergarten and is doing well.  He adds a zest for life to the household.  Unfortunately, he also has a zest for my studio and my new stamps.  It has been a little trying figuring out how to stay current with him at my heels into everything. 
But you can't stay mad at him for long! Stampaway was quick but terrific. My class was fine, the potatoes at the preview party were yummy, seeing Deb was awesome, and the trip to IKEA was fruitful. I am in love with my new paint cart!  It is so nice not having to squeeze the Golden bottles into the Iris cart drawer that is slightly smaller than the bottles.  Now I just have to find a space for it when I am on break from classes.  I will play moving and storage next week.  Oh, and I am also in love with the lighting by Stella, thanks to Mr. Holtz who was using it at his demo table.  It might make my Christmas list.  Overall, it's been a jam-packed month with Cincinnati, getting Sammi back to Ursinus, visiting with my sister, driving to see Kristen in Louisiana (MO), and my various groups.  But being busy keeps me out of other trouble! Bring on KC!!!!!