Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rose Queen Mixed Media Project with Roberta Laliberte

I just love taking beautiful magazines and piecing together bits and bobs to create a story. Some of my favourite magazines are the Stampington mags. The Somerset Life and Artful Blogging often have beautiful photos of flowers and vintage goodies, beautiful objects that can be reborn into beautiful art.

Roberta Laliberte Mixed Media OOAK Artisans

Friday, September 8, 2017

Exploring Art and Artist :: Melanie Mason

Connections:  what connect us?  How are the details, the experiences, the threads of our lives woven to link us into a greater existence, whether physically, with people or beings; emotionally, with our feelings; or spiritually, strengthening our faith in the unseen?  I certainly don’t know the answer in whole, but I believe my journey in these monthly interviews will introduce me to my “teachers”, these beautiful artists who have found some of these connections in their art. 

Melanie Mason

Melanie Mason found her love for art and creativity at a very young age.  At about the age of 6, she was given a Spirograph, and from that moment on, she could not put it down and loved to create many shapes and designs and use of colors.  

However, as with many of us, life sent her down a different path which was too busy with career, marriage and children to allow her to work on her artistic dreams.  It was just in the last ten years that her life has allowed her, and she will also add, thrown her, into her search for those connections that she needed to make her life complete. 

As I sat around her home filled with artistic energy from ceiling to floor, on every wall and piece of furniture, in her dishes and glassware, in the shower stall made from broken teacups, I found myself hanging on every word as she answered my questions.

What style or medium do you use for your artwork? 

I started out working in watercolors. This was a great experience for me, but I found that the pictures were too realistic. I found that something was lacking, and over time discovered that what was lacking was the imagination in my art.  So I allowed my imagination to guide me, and the path took a turn that could be described as more whimsical, taking the seriousness out of life and replacing it with just plain fun.  I create art in many different forms, from watercolor to oil paintings to gardening, to creating decorated glassware for my home, to making very unique jewelry, to designing women’s dresses from men’s t-shirts that have spectacular designs, to my newest endeavor of using a bandsaw to cut large shapes out of wood, sanding them, and then designing art on them.

If your art was your fishing line, and you cast it out and then reel it back in, what is at the other end of the line?

Fun.  Happiness.  The purpose of my art is to remind people not to take life so seriously.  When I do a painting, I put little surprises in the design that the customer has to look for.  Tiny messages in little spaces throughout the painting, accentuating small insignificant details like whiskers and eyelashes, nostrils and ears. Unique items in my jewelry like watch faces and the Three Stooges!  I throw it all out there to the world and receive the joy that they experience!

What inspires you as you prepare for a project?

Taking note of all the unique beauty in the world around me, as well as taking time to be unique myself.  I love trees.  I love that each tree is so different; it really makes me look at one project in many different ways.  I love animals and have always loved drawing and painting them.  Once I had a birthday party and showed up wearing rows of pearls and a pink tutu!  It was just an expression of fun and inspiration!

Melanie found herself the victim of advanced stage breast cancer seven years ago.  After undergoing a mastectomy and chemotherapy, she needed something to focus on, to keep her thinking about something other than her scars, her loss of hair, her nausea, her fears.  She bought an older home in the city and began to renovate the home and to dive into her artwork. 

I wonder two things about the connection between your art and your cancer.  On one end of the pendulum, you have your art, your creative expression.  On the other end, you have many issues you were dealing with  related to the cancer.  Your emotions, fears, anger, denial, physical fatigue, nausea, illness, dealing with the possibility of end of life. You needed support, therapy, strength. What I am wondering is, does your art become your therapy, your strength, your support?  Does your art affect how you deal with your cancer?  OR does your cancer affect how you do art?  Does it change your focus, your influence?

Well, probably a little of both.  My art was definitely my therapy.  It kept me busy and focused while I was going through my chemo. Even before that, as a way of fighting back, I painted two sensual pictures of myself to help me feel (and document) my womanhood fully and completely, before surgery would disrupt that.

Art was my lifeline.  But as far as cancer affecting my art, I would say yes as well.  Because of my cancer, my art took on more importance.  I wanted more than ever to put joy out into the world.  I wanted so much for my art to have more meaning for others; I wanted my art to actually participate in the lives of those who see it, or demand participation from the viewer.  Which is why I leave small messages and designs that people have to search for.  They need to engage to find the joy in my artwork.  I began to do art that would leave a legacy when I am gone.  I have these collages with comic strip backgrounds and all my grandchildren’s favorite items, so they will always have something to remember me by.

Where would you like your art to take you in the future?

I want to become bolder and braver with my art.  Maybe someday enter my artwork in Grand Rapids Art Prize.  (This is an annual competition that draws artists from all over the country and takes over the entre downtown.)

How do you define creativity?

Creativity to me is a place, a “zone” that takes me away from my problems.  It is a healthy need.  It is a place to go to where healing comes from a higher place as you express this healing in your artwork.  Creativity is the way in which we bring out the best in ourselves.

If you had one lesson that your art could teach others, what would it be?

Don’t take life so seriously.  It is meant to be enjoyed. 

Connections.  I so enjoyed this wonderful evening, learning how the threads of Melanie’s world came together to strengthen her and give her a reason and desire to live fully, during a time when she literally faced death.  How the bright, whimsical, message of her art helps others to connect to joy, to a more positive outlook, to physical beauty and heartwarming emotions.  I hope reading about Melanie’s journey helped you to weave a few more threads of awareness of how your own creativity connects you with your world.  I know it has done that for me. 

If you are interested in learning how you may purchase Melanie’s artwork, or would like to send her a message of inspiration, you may LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW! 
 Or email us at blog@ooakartisans.com

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cameo Wall Hanger with Sharon Harkness-Dobler

Hello everyone! This month's project was inspired by a lovely cameo pendant that I saw over on Pinterest. I love cameos! I find them to be very classy and elegant. I had a great time creating my cameo. It was fun and easy to make. Here’s what I did.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

I started with an oval shaped canvas. This canvas measures 5 x 7” or 13 x 18 cm. Here you can see that I’ve already laid down my underpainting using various mediums.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

I found the underpainting to be a bit busy for this small canvas so, I decided to “push back” some of the color with Gesso.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

Next, I sketched out a figure using my graphite pencil.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

To create her skin tone I used Paynes Gray, Titanium White, Terracotta, and Flesh Tone. 

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

Here you can see that I’ve finished painting her skin tone. I’ve gone ahead and painted in the background using Carbon Black, Ultramarine Blue and Brilliant Blue.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

To create the elegant look of a cameo, I glued pearl beads in various sizes around the edges of the canvas. Fabric glue works great to adhere the beads.

OOAK Artisans Sharon Harkness-Dobler Mixed Media Art

To finish my cameo, I glued a hanger to the back using a piece of star studded fabric.

This cameo would make a great wall hanger. I think she would make a lovely Christmas tree ornament as well.  I really hope that you enjoyed this tutorial. 

Happy creating! ~ Sharon

You can find more of Sharon's work online!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

African Daisies Watercolor with Roberta Laliberte

There is something magical about heading outdoors with my sketchbook and settling into a little corner of the world and recording what I see.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Exploring Art and Artist :: Ben John Lincod Albino

Ellen Schimmel Pearson
by Ben John Lincod Albino

Welcome to the August installment of Exploring Art and Artist!

“Exploring Art & Artist” is a new feature here at OOAK Artisan Showcase. Written by Ellen Schimmel Pearson, it’s a non-artist’s exploration of the creative world. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Write Your Story Art Journal Spread with Leah Tees

I am so in love with art journaling :) However, I do need to start taking process shots and videos, so watch for those coming soon!

OOAK Artisans Leah Tees Art Journal

Friday, July 28, 2017

On The Road :: Michigan - Part Three

Recently I travelled to Holland, Michigan to visit with my best friend from high school, Ellen. Wherever I go I am always on the lookout for art and this trip was no exception. As usual I took a zillion photos! I decided I'd shared my visit with you. This is part three, the final installation.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mixed Media Art Journal Page with Leah Tees

Hello everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your summer ;) I have a fun mixed media page for you today featuring Dina Wakely and Tim Holtz products.

Mixed Media Art Journal Page Leah Tees OOAK Artisans

Friday, July 14, 2017

Exploring Art & Artist :: Ellen Schimmel Pearson

“Exploring Art & Artist” is a new feature here at OOAK Artisan Showcase. Written by Ellen Schimmel Pearson, it’s a non-artist’s exploration of the creative world.  

Ellen Schimmel Pearson
Portrait by Ben John Albino

"I am so excited to be a part of OOAK Artisan Showcase and bring you interviews of artists around the country, and the world!  I am looking forward to meeting some interesting and passionate people, and learning what drives them, what inspires them, and how they define their art. "   ~ Ellen 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Happy Fabric Journal with Jean Stambaugh Peter

Today I am sharing with you my process of creating a fabric journal. For a while I had a creative block, but once I started it, it ended up only taking me about two hours to complete.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Water Color Bookmarks with Leah

Hello everyone! I have two projects to show you today for OOAK Artisan Showcase! I have created two water colored bookmarks using some fun rubber stamps from Whipper Snapper Designs, Inc and my Prima Watercolor Pencils and paper.

water colored bookmarks OOAK Artisans Leah Tees

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fun Image Transfer with Roberta Laliberte

Hello everyone! Roberta here with my next project. I decided to use a print of one of my paintings to create a rustic little sign for you. I really wanted to try the freezer paper method for image transfers. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be lol.

Prairie Fairy Designs OOAK Artisans Image Transfer

Friday, June 9, 2017

On the Road :: Michigan - Part One

Recently I travelled to Holland, Michigan to visit with my best friend from high school, Ellen. Wherever I go I am always on the lookout for art and this trip was no exception. As usual I took a zillion photos! I decided I'd shared my visit with you. This is Part One.


While visiting a new friend I noticed these really cool iron sculptures in her garden. I asked her husband about them and he told me they were created by their son, Foster.


So I said, "Is he here? Do you think he'd let me interview him?"

Foster is 18 but he created these pieces when he was about 12!

He told me his dad was teaching him how to weld and he noticed a pile of 'junk'. The artist in him said "Hey, I can make something with that!"  (LOVE that!)

While sharing his sculptures I found out his current passion is virtual reality. I wish I could explain to you everything he told me but I have to admit it was WAY over my head! Something about assets and model creations?!!

He did convince me to give it a try in "The Dive", a den where he entertains other VR enthusiasts, for a fee! I won't bore you with my whole experience but here's just a clip of my experience in creating dimensional art.

Foster just graduated from high school and is off to Kalamazoo to attend college in the fall. He will major in Computer Science. But, like I told his parents, I don't think he will finish college - he will be a self-made millionaire before then!

I really enjoyed my visit with Foster and I am looking forward to watching where his path will lead him. He is truly an amazing young man.

I'm leaving you with some of his thoughts....

Part Two is coming, stay tuned!

~ Shelley