Thursday, March 24, 2016

deuxième partie

Hello! I’m back with a continuation of my postcard journey! On the first postcard post, I described my written intensions for the postcards. So now for my attitude -relaxed with that sense of play and experimentation without judgment!

I was completely OK with this being an experience, a gift of myself to the ladies in the swap. There is such freedom in not worrying if something will be worthy of selling or creating a “statement.” Oh how often I will let my own expectations stifle my creativity. Totally self imposed! Being afraid to mess up a beautiful background (right!?!) that I’ve become too attached to or struggling over what color to place where, or –my biggie- overthinking so much that I end up “thinking” instead of painting. What has helped my overcome these blocks more than anything has been my art journal!
If you have a bossy inner critic like I do and don’t art journal –please give it a try! Not the formal lesson oriented sort (which don't get me wrong are awesome in there own way, but just a messy deeply personal space to unabashedly be yourself – let loose of any boundaries, celebrate your highs, work through your demons, explore techniques and medias you aren’t familiar with, heck even copy, scribble, doodle … but mostly DREAM in imagery and words (Here is a link to one of my art journal posts and one of a more personalpage if you’d like to check it out)

Oops, a little detour on one of my passions there, but back to my postcards. Next gathering and laying out SUPPLIES! (I'll list the exact ones at the end) I am very random -remember no rules, just what feels good! I started out with prints of butterflies I'd found on various sites through Pinterest (Oh, I LOVE Pinterest!!!) Butterflies represent transformation and beauty and soaring, all very appropriate symbolically, don't you think? I cut them out and gathered some craft paints in happy colors. I cut out 4x6 cards from a Mixed Media Journal where I had already written down my intensions (and various other life stuff) on the pages. Then I pulled a couple favorite stamps (butterfly, bumblebee, rectangular design I'd never used before, small zigzag, and finally a part of a ruler) Yea, a lot of stamps -went a bit cray cray on this part! Each card got a big fat stamp of each then on to the watercolor crayons. 5 colors just happened to be on my desk already, I liked them so they are what I used. Next more happy color with craft paints smooched on with a credit card. Tip: A good strategy is to alternate transparent and opaque layers  (ex: watercolor crayons -transparent-ish, acrylic -opaque-ish) If the paint is obscuring too much, wipe some off. Still super random!
Next I took my Tim Holtz distressed sequin waste stencil added purple to my cards (bubble wrap would have also worked) Then I tore into strips pages from a favorite book, "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" and used Matte Media to glue 2 to 3 on each postcard. Some splattering of pretty turquoise paint with an old toothbrush and finally I created red drips by drenching some water on the card edge where I want the drip and adding watered down paint over the water on the card. Ok -backgrounds completed!!!!!
I've got some botched old test prints of some of my girls so I cut their faces out to add to the cards. I don't quite have enough so I print out some of my previously scanned girls that I group on a page of typing paper. Now I start to add the faces and the butterflies I cut up earlier to the cards. This is so fun. I pull from my trusty scrap bag for decorative papers, fabric scraps, old ticket stubs (Nashville from a couple weeks ago), napkins, maps (New Orleans from Christmas) and other assorted bits. This is more meditative. The girls begin to tell me what they where they want to be placed, if they want to wear wings, how they want their hair to be and what they want to wear. I think I am in the home stretch. Tomorrow I think I will finish up. (HaHa - I am delusional)
The faces are pretty blurry since they were mostly taken from scrap prints, the colors are off so now I am on the individual cards one (mostly) by one. I add paint and ink to the faces, sometimes only changing eye colors and highlighting details, other times basically starting close to scratch.
The basic steps though are similar. I add shadows with a Sketch& Wash Graphite pencil and black watercolor pencil. Extra dots of color with the watercolor crayons and acrylics. Then I start adding details and words with back and white pens. On a couple I use word cutouts. I rarely outline and detail with stark contract -this is new -it is experimentation and play! No fear, No rules! Most get an ink or pastel smear along the card edges. Once again, I'm in that meditative state imagining what each girl wants to say. They start becoming more individual. Certain ones call out for something different: a bit of glitter, a bit of grunge, the bits like glow-in-the-dark paint for the "Shine" card and a 3-D butterfly for the "Soar" card. One girl simply refuses to accept words, she wants to be open ended -surprise the map is very evident in her background. I'm lost in the creative flow - one of my favorite places in the world.
Whoa baby! Yes, I've really completed the postcard fronts!!!!  I am SUPER HAPPY!  Wiggle, wiggle, jiggle, twist!  I am really tired!  I decide to scan the cards so I can create wood blocks later.
Now on to the backs. I've gathered quotes that really spoke to me and fit my girls. I print them out along with my name, Laurie Anne Smith-Sikorowski and Swap Info. A quick bumblebee stamp (you know science still hasn't figured out how these chubby little creatures can fly reminding us that nothing is impossible) and it is off to the post office! DONE & DONE!
I sure hope you've enjoyed going through my process. Please note these cards were done over the course of a couple weeks, not all at once. I am not particularly speedy (at anything really). I wish I was but I'm just not. I was born with a quiet calm steadiness that sometimes irks me but I am trying to learn to appreciate this part of my personality. It is so easy to tell someone else that they are perfectly imperfect just the way they are. It is much harder to accept it for yourself. So if you are another artsybody who gets discouraged with how fast and amazing other artists create -Don't! You are not alone. Everyone has their own gifts and their own struggles. LOVE YOUR IMPERFECTLY PERFECT SELF! GIVE YOURSELF A HUG RIGHT NOW, I MEAN IT RIGHT NOW! YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME!!! DON'T YOU FORGET IT -EVER!

Finally, a quick peak at the supplies that I used for this endeavor.  If you'd like the actual list with brands and such just let me know in the comments and I'll include it there. As long as you have something to make marks with and on, truly anything is substitutable. This is probably more than I usually use for such a small work but its fun to just layer it on! I've still got lots more postcards to complete for the next batch to go out so I'm sure I'll be posting more progress pics. What I really want to try next is a video tutorial. Wouldn't that be fun? We will see! Anyway, I will be sharing some of the postcards with their quotes as single quick posts coming up soon so come back often and check them out!

Music for tonight: Gary Wright -Dreamweaver
Quote for tonight: "You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better that you think you can." - Jimmy Carter







  1. Yes,yes!I so would love a video tutorial. I would share it with Project Angel as well. I know that they would love it! I can't wait! I will share your blogposts with Project Angel as well. I know that some of the women are interested in trying mixed media and I know that your mermaid will be loved by many. Many of us with vaginal pain identify with mermaids, ..... they have no vagina. Our fate is worse then that but something about not having a vagina and being half woman and half something else really speaks to us.

  2. I keep on coming back to your blog to feast my eyes out and to learn from you.Thank you!

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  4. Wow, Laurie, this is so inspiring! Thanks for sharing your creative process! I love how you recycled your "old" girls and gave them a new lease of life in a different form! You write with so much conviction and enthusiasm. It hit home when you wrote how your self-imposed expectations stifle your creativity. That's exactly what's happening to me at the moment! I've been struggling with a lesson for the past few days, wanting desperately to create something amazing and failing miserably - feeling deflated, exhausted and depressed in the process. I even got to the point where I started doubting my abilities, and the whole purpose of making art. Perhaps I need to take a step back from the lessons and create just for me once in a while, not worrying about the outcome. Thank you for the inspiration! :)

    1. Thank you for the comment Zsuzsa!
      I'm glad to provide a little umph of inspiration. I certainly go through those slumps where I wonder what's the point as well. (More often than I would care to admit) I think creativity ebbs and flows and you are exactly right -sometimes you just need to give your self a little space and pull back to your center and paint from the heart just for yourself (which for me tends to mean art journal time or sometimes even a general journal where I scribble and ruminate without even getting to the real art journal)
      Sending you lots of hugs!