Sunday, November 30, 2014

Gratitude and an Art Project


Thanksgiving weekend was a fabulous array of family events and lots of fun. It started with my son Robby coming from L.A. for the holiday. We spent Wednesday at the movies, having pizza (which is his necessity when he comes to NY) and playing scrabble and trivial pursuit.

On Thursday we went to my brother and sister-in-law's for turducken and lots of other delicious snacks, sides and desserts, plus lots of good wine.

On Friday we picked up my best friend Emilia and went to the North Fork wineries and then out to dinner. Back home it was a game of Left, Right, Center and more trivial pursuit.

It was a wonderful visit and though we did do a lot of fun things it went way too fast. Now I can't wait to go out and see him and his wife Sarah in California, or have them come here for a visit, perhaps in warmer weather.

Today it was a trip to Barnes and Noble where I browsed lots of art books and magazines looking for inspiration. I bought two books, one on art journaling and one on creating a craft business, which I hope to do when I retire in seven months. The magazines are "Bella Grace" and "Artful Blogging" both from Stampington and Company.

Then back home to do some art journaling.

Let me know what you think of the result.


copyright by Renee Howard Cassese

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Meditation Mandalas

The combination of a cloudy cold day, some romantic violin music and an autumn scented candle are wonderful background elements to making art. I'm about to try a new painting technique but first wanted to share something else with you lovely readers.

When looking for a calming, meditative art process that doesn't involve lots of different and messy materials I turn to the mandala coloring books of Susanne Fincher. Though I have tried to draw my own mandalas they always come out lopsided and asymmetrical which totally annoys my OCD, sensory processing issues and destroys the sense of calm these perfectly balanced circles create.

I prefer using colored pencils to fill them in as they give me better control than markers or paints. I've tried pastel chalks but they tend to smear. I'll choose a palette of several colors and start filling in spaces. There is a difference between starting at the center and working outward, or starting at the edges and working toward the center. The latter order helps me get grounded and brings me close to my own center where I can sort thoughts out as I engage in the repetitive process and listen to music that further sends me into my heart and soul.

I'll begin by just coloring everything in with the colored pencils:
While the mandala can be considered finished at this point I've begun a second process that adds more to the artistic sense of the mandala and also brings me further into the soul of the process.
I use uni ball vision elite pens to add darker details and accents, sort of like zentangle designs. It draws me in deeper and helps the meditative feel of the process.


It's a bit of a stopover between art and writing. Sometimes it calms me enough to go back to the novel and knock off a new scene or revitalize a scene that's stalling. Other times it leads me to journaling or writing new poems. Nicely enough the facing page of each mandala drawing has a sentence or too describing the purpose of that particular mandala but the rest of the page is blank, leaving room for journaling based on the descriptive sentence or for jotting down poems that sprout during the coloring and detailing processes.

It brings me back to long luxurious days as a little girl when I got lost in my coloring books or with a picture from a Venus Paradise color by number set. And there's is great pleasure, at 65, being brought back to the glorious days of childhood freedom.

I suggest you try it. Can't hurt. And it's a great way to calm yourself at the end of a stressful day or center yourself before you begin your day. 

Just have fun with it!!!


copyright by Renee Howard Cassese

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Layers of Hope

As much as I love writing, I think I love making art even more. I'm experimenting with some art media and trying to devise a style that will allow me to incorporate my poems into the pieces. Though I haven't been a big fan of layering I am learning its magnitude and how successful a mixed media piece can be when lots of layers are incorporated.

I tend to avoid lots of layers in my art because I hate covering up pretty papers, or text tissue, or images and words, but I'm starting to see the dimension that can be created and learning to live with the hidden layers beneath the finished piece.

Here I layered pattern papers then painted over them with pale yellow craft paint. I added a butterfly from a decorative napkin (which by the way makes a really nice image for art. You peel the layers of the napkin till you have one thin layer with the image on it. Then using gel medium or white glue adhere it to your art piece. The image literally melts into the piece.) I adhered the word "hope" that I cut from a magazine and attached a copyright free image of a little girl. Then I added small cloth flowers. I used Ranger distress ink pads to edge the piece and give it an aged look.

I will try more pieces like this and share them here. Those that come out as I want them to I will use to make blank note cards.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ART JOURNALING

I've been in the mood to art journal again. In the blank white pages of my mixed media journal I can explore and create, experiment with new ideas, new art materials and examine the wonderful and not so wonderful times of each day. Still working on a style of art to add my poems to. Tomorrow night taking an art journal class at Scrappers Playground in Babylon and hoping to discover new materials and styles to work with.

Oh--and getting ready to do some painting too! 

For now, here is a recent art journal page to share.



copyright by Renee Howard Cassese

Friday, August 1, 2014

FOOTSTEPS ART

I've been taking a poetry course online with Lorraine Mejia-Green called Poetry Inspired by World Art. The past three weeks have been a wonderful exploration of art as well as a launch pad for some new poems to include in the new collection I'm working on. Our final week of class requires making an art piece incorporating poetry--which of course is something I love to do. So here is one of my pieces. The one I will submit for our final week of class is in process. More to come on that later.


It was fun and inspiring to take a photo and then work in mixed media on a canvas board to create art and include a poem. Acrylic paints in 3 colors as well as stencils created the background. The photo was matted on white cardstock and attached to the board. The poem was printed on parchment style copy paper and adhered next to the photo. A foam dot stamp was used to stamp around the poem and blend it into the total piece. Border from the parchment paper was torn and glued to the top and the title was created with a stencil and my favorite Sharpie black marker.

The voila the piece is done and I am moving on to create the piece for our last week of class. I have several photos in mind to use and need to write the poems. I think a scrapbook style of art using patterned papers might be in order, with a little bit of trims to jazz it up. Let's see what emerges from this afternoon of creative time.
copyright by Renee Howard Cassese

Saturday, July 26, 2014

FOOTSTEPS

Yesterday we took an afternoon excursion to The Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. It's a nature preserve and historical site that never fails to fill my heart with magic. Along it's many winding and natural paths you can see flowers, little cottages and lush plantings that remind me of a primordial forest.


















That trip, as well as reading Stampington Company's new publication "Bella Grace" inspired me to take photos from which to get inspiration for poems and art pieces. I take pictures of events for fun but never considered it as an art form I would be any good at. I need a lot of practice--but I can learn and in the meantime what photos I take can prompt poems and artistic ways to display them.

For my first attempt I am using this photo. I never understood the obsession I see on blogs of people taking photos of their feet, but I tried it and wrote a poem to go with it. I want to take the two and combine them in a scrapbook style art piece that I'll share here when it's done.




curve of stones
leads into the woods,
I follow
unknown directions
hoping
around the bend
that traces a field of 
Queen Annes' lace,
my heart waits
to sing me home
to show me what passions
sleep in my future
one step
   one step
       one curve of stones
closer to my dreams





copyright by Renee Howard Cassese 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

WINE AND POETRY

On Sunday July 20 I had the pleasure of doing a book signing at Mattebella Vineyards in Southold on the North Fork of Long Island. It opened with a sprinkle of rain but then the clouds drifted by and the sunshine prevailed. Amid brilliantly green grapevines, beautiful roses and with the scent of wines kissing the air I enjoyed the company of family and friends. 

Here a few photos to share the day. Hoping to see more of friends and family at my next event.



Also, notice my license plate. I am the POETESSA and will share many more poems and pieces of art with all my blog readers. I will also be sharing information on how making poems and art can help you grow and to share research that shows the therapeutic magic of poetry, art and journaling.

copyright by Renee Howard Cassese