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Thursday, September 29, 2011


This is one of my new favorites. Inadvertantly directed to me by my pal Lindy. It is so cute you're going to love it too. You can find more of his music on YouTube. This guy is great. Where have I been?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Here's a very interesting letter I received today from Robert Genn of "Twice Weekly Letter (rgenn@saraphina.com). Just wanted to share it with you. He said I could. It's worth the 2 minutes.

Learning to draw again

September 27, 2011

Dear Coleen,

When I was a kid I was pretty good at drawing. By the time I got to art school some people thought I was a certified drawing genius. Trouble was, I solved all my problems with my drawing--to the detriment of composition, colour and other stuff that should have held my attention. Feeling I had to raise my standards, I decided to drop drawing altogether and try to build some other facilities. It was tough. For about six months I essentially disabled drawing and kicked my drawing board down the road.

To this day I seldom draw. I go right to the other stuff.

Psychoanalyst Dr. Norman Doidge's remarkable book, The Brain That Changes Itself is full of stories showing how the human brain can be rewired. Doidge is of the "neuroplasticity" school of brain science. He doesn't think, for example, that there is one part of the brain that masters drawing and keeps it there. Like a giant hard drive on a computer that's capable of filing stuff randomly, any part of the brain, including left and right hemispheres, can learn and unlearn.

In one story, after a devastating stroke a man was able to gradually regain the use of a paralyzed leg. During his recovery he had come to rely more and more on his good leg. It was part of his process to mentally disable the good leg so the bad leg could begin again.

Psychiatrists note that during the sticky business of lovers parting, it's necessary for them to "disable" the forsaken one in order to begin to love someone else. This doesn't mean trashing the other, but the old has to be properly archived before new love-data can be entered. It's thought that those who don't need to do this didn't love in the first place.

Disabled neural paths can be difficult to regenerate--particularly as you grow older. But it does happen, and it's no miracle. It takes character and focus. You can teach old dogs new tricks--and get them to relearn old tricks they've forgotten. Artists frequently report the loss of drawing ability when they neglect drawing for even short periods of time. Since my heady, distracted days in art school, I've noticed a decline in my drawing ability. Just another case of "use it or lose it"?

Best regards,


PS: "Neuroplasticity contributes to both the constrained and unconstrained aspects of our nature. It renders our brains not only more resourceful, but also more vulnerable to outside influences." (Norman Doidge)

Esoterica: Canadian painter John Newman suffered a stroke that caused Transverse Myelitus, permanently disabling the right side of his body. His right-handedness appeared to condemn him to no more painting. But with application and focus John was able to gain nearly similar dexterity with his left hand and has subsequently had lefty sell-out shows. FYI, we've put a selection of John Newman's left- and right-handed work at the top of the current clickback.

old dogs new tricks--and get them to relearn old tricks they've forgotten. Artists frequently report the loss of drawing ability when they neglect drawing for even short periods of time. Since my heady, distracted days in art school, I've noticed a decline in my drawing ability. Just another case of "use it or lose it"?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tim Coffey Video - Faux Canvas

This is a great idea to get around paying for those expensive canvases or making them yourself, which is a lot of work.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I'd been on the internet yesterday and something caught my eye reminding me of a process I've done before, but not for a long time. So I started tearing up strips of tissue paper and gluing them down with thinned PVA. I painted the paper first and then the laid down strips to saturate them for good adhesion. The top page is just that, while the lower page has another layer of thin white napkins (this could be white tissue paper also). It too, is covered with another layering of glue. I like the lower as it gives a more muted look to the intense colors. They each can have their own uses. So now I"m ready with some pretty papers. You can do this using fabric as your base. See a tutorial at March 8th, 2010. Try it, lots of fun.

This is more paper I made embedding fern leaves in between paper and tissue. I've wanted to try this for some time. Living in the forest I am always drying leaves and flowers. I use them some in my art journal and in crafting with children. I like how it turned out. Now I have to see how I am led to use it.

This was the last thing I did yesterday and felt like it was a good place to stop. I was satisfied and happy with the days outcome. Well, actually I was pretty excited and gratified as to how this one turned out. The fish below was done yesterday too. It was a pretty prolific day.


Margarete sent me these beautiful, so colorful calendar pages recently. As soon as I saw them I thought of trying this fun idea I'd seen somewhere on the net. I still have a whole years worth of pages so I thought it would be a fun project to do with the kids in Sunday school. And, like all our crafts, we will put a Bible verse on it.


The morning light was just right. The day touched my cheek with a soft breeze. I was in wonder of His beauty. He never ceases to prick my inner being with joy at what he's done.

Isn't God's creation just marvelous? He speaks to us through the flowers and the beauty he puts all around us. Even this delicate little bee is a wonder of his doing.

This is the rich flower bed from which I was shooting. Summer is gone, yet the fall flowers are like God's final blessing of his colorful imagination expressed to give us beauty. This spot is located in the small village of Gorenichi in central Ukraine where we attended a Harvest Day celebration on the 11th. I"ll post pictures of that later.

Yes, this is for real. That amazing butterfly let me get real close. I've learned to start snapping as I approach so I at least get something before they flit away, but this one let me keep coming. God's amazing workmanship.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Artist Trading Card

This vintage little gem flew away to the U.S. recently. Artist Trading Cards (ATC) cannot be sold, but can only be given away or traded. They are miniature pieces of one's artistic creativity. Hope you like it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

We all have problems in this life, yet we walk around like everything is fine and we look like our life is all put together. The fact is, behind that mask often is great hurt, some tragic event or some challenge we think will engulf us. So, I've left here a link for you to read. It's not long, but will take you a few minutes. Believe me, it is worth the time: http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/5832

Go there, you'll be glad you did and you'll look at people differently.

Blessings, Coleen

Friday, September 9, 2011


Another skinny done in a swap on Swap-bot.com Theme was vintage hat.


I just love the old vintage advertisements. This one is really funny. To think women wore such contraptions, all for the sake of beauty. Nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful of course, I mean we are women, afterall, it's our girlhood dream, but torture to get there is another story. Hope you like it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Vintage Skinny

A "skinny" is 3x5" in size. Had some fun creating this one recently. The flower was handmade with rickrack. I'm just amazed at how fast the summer has come and gone. Here's to a long drawn out fall. Hope you like it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


(Note: sorry about the music. I don't like when a blog starts up with music so short of deleting (which I may soon do) I haven't figured out how to turn it off. Go to Aug. 27th posting and pause it.)

If you live in America, more and more you have an abundance of gift cards laying around. I've found that if I ask for one or two in stores they usually just give them to me (unloaded, of course). In Europe we buy our phone chips and get these cards. So why not use them to craft? Here's a quick how to:

Select your cards. As you see below, it doesn't matter if there is a hole since you may cover with paper. The other option is to gesso or paint the surface. If you do this be sure to lightly sand the card so it will have some grip to hold your paint. Then decorate. The following is how to do it with a paper covering.

I laid my card down on the back side of my paper to mark cutting lines. Don't assume all cards are exactly the same size unless you check them. Some have funny shapes and edges.

Cut papers and round corners if you want. I did this with my smallest corner rounder and found it did not exactly match up. Try it and see on one before you cut a lot of papers. You might be better to hand cut around the corners after you glue in place or not cut them at all.

I inked my card edge before gluing paper to it. Then I inked the papers on it too. I discovered that ink pad ink is slow to dry on plastic so be careful not to smudge your paper with it (I did, experience, the great teacher). Inking edges is optional. Put the papers on your card and see how it looks.

Front side. This is the fun part, decorating the front and back. Be sure to leave room for your quote. Move everything around like a puzzle until you get the layout you like before gluing. Also, leave a bit of room in the upper left corner for a hole to bind it together with a ring or ribbon (or twine, embroidery floss, lace, seam binding, etc.)

Back side with your name and pertinent details you want to include. Here is evidence of some smudging I did (not on purpose). When that happens never fret, just work with it. I drew the little vine to cover the spot.

There wasn't that easy peasy? And so cute, what a fun mini-book. If you make one I'd sure like to see what you do.

Blessings, Coleen in Ukraine
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