Digital Lessons 1-5: Over on the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Yahoo group (link to our yahoo is in the sidebar) we have been learning how to use our digital software, i.e. PS Elements in various versions. The ATC's pictured below were the entries to a challenge that was given to the members after the 4th lesson and the winner was allowed to choose what the topic of lesson 5 would be. (Using & Understanding Layers was the topic choosen-a good topic for sure.) Congratulations must go to all the entries, for taking the first steps in learning this otherwise overwhelming program and to have fun while learning. We might be taking baby steps, but we're having fun creating some awesome art! Come and join us! Creating Word Art is coming up soon!
Eileen L. & Gale (right)

Maura S.(Winner of Challenge) & Peggy g. (right)

Tina S. & Judy C. (right)

Carolyn S. & Beth H. (right)

Book Review by Sherre Hulbert: Sherre chose a new release by Angela Cartwright & Sarah Fishburn, called: "In This Garden-Explorations in Mixed-Media Visual Narrative" which is published by Quarry Books.

"I knew I would like this book when I saw it advertised. I love gardens, so a garden-themed mixed-media book was right up my alley. There are lovely illustrations by Alice Scott-Morris interspersed throughtout this book. The book is a compilation of several artists and their interpretations of the garden theme."

"Each chapter features a different artist and her book. From "A New Orleans Junkyard Garden" (Sarah Fishburn), to the "Four Rusted Hearts" garden (Susie LaFond), you will find fun ideas and unique embellishments. This is an eye-candy type of book as opposed to an instructional craft book and I enjoy having books like this around to fuel my imagination before I start a new project. A good addition to your library of eye-candy craft books!"

Bood Review by Cynthia (Cindy) Powell: I chose a new release this month also, entitled: "Ancient-Modern: Polymer Clay & Wire Jewelry" by: Ronna Sarvas Weltman, published by Interweave Press LLC

"There are 15 projects in this book, with step by step instructions for making some truely unique and original clay jewelry. Not being a clay artist myself, I need all the help I can get and I devoured this book from cover to cover. The photos are inspiring and the author very knowledgable in her craft, but also in designing jewelry as art to wear. Most of the clay pieces are on the larger scale which is very trendy at the moment, but of course you can create your own interpretation of these projects in smaller scale to fit your own style."

"From cover to cover this book has valuable information, great tips and fabulous projects, like the string bead used to make "Serendipity's Sister Necklace" along with some wonderful wire-working techniques. This book was a big hit for me and I would encourage both experienced and non-experienced clay artists to add this book to their library."
July 2009

Our Guest Artist this month is a woman I have had the privilege of knowing for several years. An artist who is a fabulously diversified artist that leans towards a nostalgic style when she creates her assemblages known as shadowboxes. These boxes are usually recycled cigar boxes or wine display boxes, but boxes of all sorts are used to display her wonderful assemblages of interesting collections. Her style is reminiscent of the Victorian era, with a soft, antiqued appearance. “Cecilia Swatton” seeks her treasures via flea markets and thrift stores, collecting objects that are three dimensional miniatures, as well as items that can be scanned, such as lace, buttons, photos, documents, old letters, etc. She considers herself to be a “Packrat” when it comes to collecting:

“I collect objects that speak to me, if I like what I see, I will make a purchase even if I don’t immediately know how I will use the item. I love to hunt for the unusual objects that I can incorporate into these showcase-shadowboxes to add more interest and to tie the other elements together to create a finished piece.” Here is one of her amazing creations, titled: “A Little Bird Told Me”

This piece is an altered cigar box that incorporated molded plastic packing materials, a molded plastic dress form that had been recycled from a package of doll clothes and various other flea market finds, including book pages, a lace doily and a woman’s glove.

Besides her creative use of recycled wooden boxes, frames & trays, Cecilia is fascinated with other styles of creative art, especially gallery wrapped canvas. Having studied many forms of print making, surface alteration and papermaking, she has continued her studies with a variety of different media as well: Oil pastels, acrylics, inks and a whole lot more.

This canvas titled: “Swirl” is a mixed media abstract created with modeling paste. Cecilia used acrylics as a base for adding additional color via watercolor pencils and oil pastels.

“Above the Storm” was created in the same way as the canvas pictured above, but she continued adding elements, such as glass beads. “Both of these paintings started their lives as earlier paintings that I recycled by covering them with gesso. Often the colors and shapes from the original painting will show through the gesso and can evoke a new starting point for a future painting.”

“I’ve been criticized for failing to “Focus on one thing, so as to get good at it” but that would bore me. I feel excited about exploring new techniques and new media and I believe art making should be exciting and fun. I think God planned it that way, because I believe He uses our interests as a way of gifting us as well as guiding us. I feel that everything I learn in each new exploration will end up making me a better artist overall; I also think that working in mixed media helps keep my mind “elastic and flexible” to be creative in general. My biggest challenge is finding time to do all that I want and my best advice to all artists; is to listen and follow your own heart. Listen to constructive feedback and decide for yourself what you need to take to heart and what you need to let go.”

Another area of interest for Cecilia is in her CD creations. She loves creating digital works via Photoshop and has assembled 2 CD collections of vintage images for other artists who are interested in vintage collage, altered arts, card-making, hands-on scrapbooking as well as digital collage artists.
Her first CD, “Oldendaze I” is available at: Altered Pages
Her 2nd CD, “Oldendaze II and Beyond” is available on her blog:

Cecilia’s work has been published in many magazines such as: “Cloth, Paper, Scissors”, “Expression”, “Scrap ‘n Stamp”, “Altered Arts”, “Somerset Studio Gallery”, “Stamper’s Sampler”, “Impressions” and many more. Until its 2007 demise, Cecilia was one of the Contributing Designers for “The Rubber Stamper” magazine.

Did you notice that some of these publications are rubber stamping magazines? That’s because Cecilia is also an independent designer of rubber stamps, sold exclusively at: , and

(I told you Cecilia is a diversified artist!)

You can also find several of her mixed media wall pieces hanging in “The Shoppes of Artella Land” .

She is also a new member of Sue Farace’s Design Team over at: Crafter’s CafĂ© where we can see some fabulous projects created by Sue as well.(Sue would like to add another artist to her Design Team. If you are interested, please contact her at:

Several of Cecilia’s amazing artwork will be featured in an upcoming publication of:
“Exploring the Latest Trends in Mixed Media Art”-Vol. II
(Scheduled Early Fall of 2009.)

When recently asked to host a workshop on our Yahoo group (link in sidebar), Cecilia did not hesitate. She taught the members of the group a fun, easy printing technique using foam meat trays as printing plates. Here is a photo of Cecilia’s finished piece.

I want to “Thank” Cecilia for allowing me this interview, as well as, for her time to teach the workshop. It was fun and inspirational!
Challenge Results:
Last month we offered you, our readers a challenge. Sherre donated 3 of her cabinet cards for you to alter in a Patriotic theme and here are the fabulous cards that were created!

The one of the left was created by: Carolyn S and the one on the right by: Pat S.

These two were created by: Sherre H.

Pam C. created these three amazing altered cabinet cards. I love them all!

This last one is my contribution. Most of these were created using basic steps in the digital software programs and if you would like to learn some fundaments of Photoshop Elements, join our yahoo group. Link is in the sidebar.
(Have you been making plans to attend an artist retreat but have questions about what to expect? Sherre attended her first retreat recently and in this article, she shares with us, her experiences.)

By: Sherre Hulbert
I recently was able to attend my very first art retreat this past May; Art & Soul at Asilomar, CA. I was really looking forward to the concentrated time spent creating and also catching up with a good friend whom I hadn’t seen in three years. Asilomar is located in Pacific Grove, CA. right on the Pacific Ocean. Near Pebble Beach, it is a lovely area to go for an art retreat. Even daily fog couldn’t hamper the excitement of the attendees at this Art & Soul event. Everyone was friendly & welcoming. I also got to meet with some online art friends as well as make a few, new friends. I liked being able to sit with a variety of people at each meal. My roommate’s and my accommodations were rustic, but clean. The staff at Asilomar goes out of their way to respond to not only special dietary concerns, but even come to the aid of those needing a fire laid in their room’s fireplace.
This was a small venue for Art & Soul, around 132 attendees. I had made 50 items to trade, which was too much! I think 50 would work well for one of the larger venues that have closer to 600 attendees. It seemed as if most attendees did not make trade items for this particular retreat.
Maria of Collage, in Portland, brought a lot of fun goodies to purchase in the on-site store. She also had a half-off sale on a lot of items the last day. This was great because my local stores don’t have the same items and I was able to pick up quite a few wanted supplies.
Now, for the workshops themselves! I took Misty Mawn’s “32 Flavors” 2-day class and Stephanie Lee’s “Crack it” class.
Misty’s class had about 20 students. It was held in a large room were we could cluster around her large work table for the demos and all were able to see. Misty did a lot of demonstrations for the class. I believe the aim was to show us 32 different journal ideas. We concentrated a lot on faces, which disturbed a few attendees who had also signed up for her faces class. Misty was a patient and personable teacher, gently encouraging the students to relax, play and not get overly stressed over “mistakes.” I enjoyed playing with paint and drawing, but didn’t really have time to actually finish any one project.
The biggest critique I have of the class was for me a major one. On the class supply list we had been asked to bring our “favorite markers.” What the list failed to specify, was that the majority of what we would be working on REQUIRED water-soluble markers only. Guess who had permanent markers as her favorite?? The on-site store also didn’t have any water-soluble markers; though it did have water-soluble crayons that I bought (had to leave class to do so). This was stressful for me because I had brought some really nice markers in a lovely range of colors and couldn’t even use them.
Stephanie’s class was in a cozy room with a fire going in the fireplace. This was needed for the plaster technique we were doing. The fog made for humid conditions, so the fire helped to dry the plaster and keep the air warm and dry also. Stephanie was enthusiastic and fun. She was able to give a lot of one-on-one attention and her demonstrations were easily seen. There were 13 of us in this class. I loved this technique. I could have kept glazing and glazing on my pieces without ever “finishing” any of them. I didn’t get any of the three canvases totally finished, but did come away with a good grasp of the technique so that I can make more of these at home. Stephanie also had each person show their pieces at the end of class and commented on their work. She also asked each student if anything was confusing or hard in the process and what they enjoyed. It was nice to get to see the projects and hear from each student.
So, although, for me the classes didn’t have me leaving with a finished project, I feel I learned a lot and was inspired to keep on using Misty’s journal ideas and also have plans to enter a canvas in our local Harvest fair this fall using Stephanie’s "Crack it" technique.
I would attend an art retreat again, but perhaps double-check with the instructors regarding the supply lists, so as to avoid having the wrong materials in the future. I also noticed that both teachers did not have detailed instructions to pass out to their students. If you didn’t take notes (I did), I don’t know how you would remember the different techniques demonstrated.
I also found it interesting that Art & Soul did not ask the attendees for any kind of feedback. Having a form to fill out would be beneficial for the organizers and for the instructors.
Wanting to end on a positive note, I would highly recommend an art retreat for anyone wanting to escape the daily grind and getting to play with art supplies all day! I shared my critiques because I feel they are important issues, but, overall I had an extremely enjoyable time and would attend another retreat. Art & Soul was a great opportunity to immerse into “art for art’s sake.” It was refreshing to have time to have fun with my art supplies; there was no need to produce a finished product, no demands or expectations to meet. I loved the retreat for that!
What will we be doing for the month of July? Carolyn is hosting the Monthly Designer Paper technique which will feature the use of colored tissue paper. A unique, fun technique with unpredictable results!
The July workshop and swap will be hosted by Cindy (me) and will be featuring clay pendant jewelry! Here is a sample:
I call this "Grunge". I used a metallic alcohol ink for the faux metal finish on this piece.
Over at: Sherre's Arttechniques Yahoo Sherre will be hosting an Artist Pin Swap and since I was already working with clay, I decided to make my pin by combining techniques from the new book "Ancient-Modern" by: Ronna Sarvas Weltman and an article in the June issue of Polymer Cafe' magazine. Here are a few samples:

I really like the combination of the textures, the color of the metallic clay and the shine from the metal wire.
We hope you have enjoyed this month's Zine and we would like to invite you to join our ever growing, on-line family of friends, at our Yahoo groups. Sherre & Cindy