Upcoming Workshops!

I’m so excited to share with you two workshops I’m teaching in the next several weeks! The first one is called Collage Word Pendant and the second one is Art Journaling Basics. Both classes will take place at Sulfur Studios in Savannah. 
These classes focus on taking a more mindful approach to art. If you’ve been around here for a bit, then you’ve probably noticed that I love color and I love words. And combining the two in a mindful way brings me great joy. In these classes, I will walk you through an exercise of focusing on words to use in your art. Then we will work with various mediums to give them a visual representation. The process of creating art like this has been powerful in my life. It has helped me work through various emotions and situations. As well as providing a creative outlet just for the joy of it. 
I hope that you will consider taking one (or both of these) classes. If you come in with an open mind, I know you can grow and discover more about yourself through this process. 

Here are the nitty gritty details. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions. Also, if you know anyone that would enjoy these classes, please feel free to share this information. 

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Collage Pendants 

Thursday, March 29, 2018
6:00 PM  8:00 PM
$45.00 per student
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/collage-pendant-with-casey-gainey-tickets-42999530754
This class will focus on choosing a “guiding word” and creating a pendant and necklace to showcase it. We will cover basic jewelry techniques with an added focus on mixed media methods. Most of the supplies will be provided. Students are encouraged to bring any beads they wish to incorporate in their piece. 

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Art Journaling Basics 

Saturday, April 21, 2018
1:00 PM  5:00 PM
$65.00 per student
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/art-journalling-basics-with-casey-gainey-tickets-42999019224
In this four hour class, we will explore art journaling techniques in an altered book journal. We will start by making our journals from used hardback books and various materials. Then, we will cover the basics of creating backgrounds using paints, inks, stencils, and other materials. We will explore various methods for adding layers and finishing touches. Most of the supplies will be provided, including the book for a journal. 

My new kind of crazy project!

I’ve been working on what feels like a really big and powerful project.

It feels big and powerful in the sheer number of elements involved. But it also feels big in a way that means it will change things. Probably just for me, but maybe for others too.

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I’m starting what I’m calling 100 Mantra Cards. These little cards will hopefully pack a pretty powerful punch. They are part inspiring, part artistic, and part personal. They’re inspiring because I hope you’ll find something from the message or the artwork that encourages you to pick up your artistic tool or find a way to be brave in your life (or both). It’s artistic because I will paint, collage, doodle, or whatever on these cards. I’m not making any parameters about how they are completed other than sticking with a uniform size, but more on that later. Lastly, they’re personal because the messages on the cards will come from me or have been inspired by something I’ve read or heard. I have a pretty long list  of mantras that can be used on the cards. And I’m sure so many more will come to me as the project continues. That’s actually a large part of the project- listening and being open to what messages are coming at me. Sometimes we hear positive things and sometimes negative. My hope is to filter these through my own beliefs and values then put them on the cards.

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So what are the logistics? I am a logical person that mostly needs to think in parameters in order to think beyond them. However, with this project, I’m keeping things pretty simple. I’m starting with a white card that measures 4.5 x 3.25 inches. Truthfully I came to that size because I have a pack of card stock precut that way. From there, I’m not limiting myself to certain techniques or mediums. I can create on that card however I feel lead. At some point, it will get a mantra. Lastly, it will get backed with another piece of card stock for stability and the corners will be rounded. That’s it. All the parameters in one small paragraph. I’m learning to work without so much structure, which is nice.

What am I not doing for this project? I’m not making this a daily project. I love the idea of daily projects, but I put so much pressure on myself that I ultimately fail (or at least in my eyes). I do want one card for every day of the year. But I have time to make that happen. And because it’s not daily, I can make as many or as few in a day as I want. 

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What are my hopes for this project? Because what is a project without a good why behind it? I hope to improve my artistic skills and continue to shape my style. I hope to become a better listener to messages around me. I hope to inspire myself and others to create something. I hope to make people feel better with an positive message.

As you can see, this is no little project. But it feels like my project. It feels like the project I’ve been working towards for years. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m overwhelmed (in a good way). I’m hopeful.

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Collage Word Pendant

A few weeks ago, I taught a couple of creative workshops with adult women. First of all, I love teaching. I always have -whether it’s to a classroom of stuffed animals or a group of adults. I especially loved this doing this project with women. So much that I had to share it with you!

To get started, I walked the women through a short exercise to identify a word or phrase to use on thier pendant. If you’re up for it, we can do it together now.  

First, take out a sheet of paper. Allow yourself to be unfiltered with this. :)  Then answer the following questions with as many words or phrases that come to mind. 

-What values would you like yo invite into your life? 

-What characteristics do you admire about yourself and others? 

-What characteristics would you like to cultivate in your life? 

Look over your list. Is there a word that really captures what you want? If not, look up your words in a dictionary, thesaurus, books and magazines. You may have some words listed more than once or words that are similar. This is a great place to start. The post from earlier this week is week is a good place for inspiration as well. And remember- you can always do more than one pendant. Once you have your word, you’re ready to get started on the project!

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Ultra Thick Embossing Powder

Heat Gun

Basic Jewelry supplies

book text or similar  

Thin wood slice

Collage papers

Scissors

Glue

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1) Using old books, find your word and cut it out. You can also use stamps, typewriter, or write out your word.

2) Add a layer of paper to the wood slice using liquid glue. You don’t have to worry about having perfect edges here. Also, mywood slice had a hole in the top. Add one if yours doesn’t.

3) Collage an image or elements related to your word on top of your paper. Since my word is blossom, I chose to create a flower. Thinner paper works better here than card stock. Add your word on top.

4) Cut any access paper from the sides. Seal with a layer of glue.

5) Apply a few layers of Ultra Thick Embossing Powder to give it a hard, shiny, water-resistant finish. If you don’t have the powder, you can seal with acrylic medium. Be sure to keep the hole open when using the powder. Add a jump ring and attach to a necklace or key ring. You can take this an extra step by creating a beaded necklace for your pendant.

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I guess now the only question left to ask: 

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Creative Intention Cards

Play.

Accept. 

Seek. 

These are just three words in my deck of creative intention cards. This deck serves as a way to center me and give me a focus for my creative time. Sometimes I don’t feel the need to pull a card. Sometimes I already have an idea or the motivation to start. But other times, I can feel myself getting in my own way. I can feel myself closing up at the thought of staring at a blank page or canvas. These are the times when this deck proves so helpful. The cards are there when I need a reminder or suggestion for how to approach my creative time.

Luckily, they are super easy to make! Cut a piece of card stock into cards 2.5 inches by 3 inches. Paint each card individually and write an intention on it. I chose to stick with one word mantras, but you could expand on them. Do these however it feels natural to you!

 

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The mantra I can't stop repeating

Everything is as it should be.

I find it so easy to blame myself for not doing enough, for saying too much, and for playing it too safe. This is the case in my life and my business/artistic goals. A few weeks ago, I came across this mantra while doing this yoga video. Once the video was over, I wrote it on a post-it and stuck it to my bathroom mirror. Whenever I find myself in the mind loop of berating myself for everything I think I’ve done wrong, I stop, take a deep breath, and repeat this mantra. It’s helped me to take things at face value. I’ve started to see my path, my struggles, and my successes in a better light.

Recently, I started a new art journal. It seemed fitting to make this mantra the first spread. Here are a few details about it. The background is layers of teal tissue paper adhered with matte medium. The letters were stamped and white embossed. I added payne’s gray paint to the edges and splatters in white paint and dark purple acrylic ink.

It was an easy spread that allows the words to be the focus.

Is in person learning better for you?

In the world of online classes and Youtube, it’s easy to get distracted by all the opportunities to learn something new. More than once (or twice), I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Youtube videos. I really only wanted to watch one video to see how to use my new Distress Crayons. But then hours later, I resurface feeling a little dazed from all the information and even a little unmotivated. I hope I’m not alone in that (but I’m guessing I’m not). So what’s the solution? Well you could set a timer and practice self-control….

Or you could change your approach to learning the techniques you really want to learn. I still think Youtube and online classes are a valid place to learn, but it’s not right for every person and every skill. That’s way I suggest in person workshops for learning the techniques you are really excited to learn.

Here are five benefits to taking an in person art class:

 
 

You can learn and practice skills in real time.

When you learn something during an in person class, you will try it on the spot. Instead of what typically happens: You buy an online art class. Binge watch all the videos and ooh and ahh at your creative ideas. Then say you’re tired from watching hours of videos and you’ll pull out the supplies tomorrow to give it a try. Only tomorrow comes and you don’t really remember all those amazing ideas and you feel too intimidated to try at all. In a class in real life, you learn something and immediately try it. You also get ideas from watching how others do the same techniques.

You’ll get instant feedback.

Not only can you get instant feedback from an instructor during an in person class, you can also get feedback from the other students. I’ve never taught a class where the only constructive feedback came from me. Every student comes with varying levels of education and expertise. Therefore, they are able to offer suggestions and thoughts on how to get you through your struggles.

You’ll take the guesswork out of buying supplies

My workshops provide all the supplies you’ll need to create the project (and a take home goodie bag with extras!). I do this so you don’t have to worry about getting the right supplies or buying something you may not use again. When you come to class, you’ll have access to the tools you need to make the project and plenty of materials to make it your own. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions about supplies you may want or need. Then, you’ll know exactly what you want to use your Michael's coupon to buy. And get to creating with it even quicker!

You can try your hand at something new.

Maybe you’re not sure if you’re really an art journaler. But taking a three hour workshop about art journaling techniques can give you a pretty good idea if you are. I think this is one of my favorite things about in person workshops. It can be so scary to try something new, especially if all you have is a few thousand Youtube videos to go on. In person workshops give you the chance to try your hand at it without a huge time or money investment. Then you can decide if it’s for you from there.

Make new friends and meet like minded people

When you go to an art class, you’re surrounded by people that are interested in the same thing as you. And not just art in general, but that type of art done in a certain way. Chances are you have other things in common too.  Did I mention these are friends in real life and not just a small thumbnail picture in a chat room?

Ready to take an in person art workshop? Check out the websites of your favorites artists and local art stores. If you’re around Savannah, GA or fancy a trip, be sure to check out my lineup of classes!

What’s your main reason for wanting to take an online class?

 

Questions I ask while Creating

I’m not sure about you but I sometimes struggle with “being in my head” too much. I do this with art, but really with just about anything in my life. When in comes to overthinking my creative process, I’ve learned to direct it more. Today, I’m sharing the common questions I ask myself when I’m creating. 

How can you push this farther?

This question is all about pushing the boundaries of my work. Sometimes I feel that I'm holding back. Asking myself this gives me broad possibilities for the next step. It also means I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone which is usually heavily influenced by outside sources. 

What is working?

I use this question a lot! Anytime I'm unsure of the next step, I take a hard look at the piece and ask what is working. Sometimes I phrase it as "what am I liking here?"or "what isn't working?". It helps me to hone in on techniques and colors that I really like or don't like. 
Side note: I also ask this when looking at others people work. 

Is there a technique or supply I haven't used in while that could work here?

This is a great question for when I feel tired of my supplies or stuck in the process. Sometimes simply adding one thing differently can change an entire piece around. This is also the fun of mixed media- anything is truly fair game!
Side note: It's also helpful to keep a catalog of techniques to browse through for this question. 

What color would I like more of?

It's easy to get into a certain color story and use those colors repeatedly. It's not a bad thing. It actually makes for work that has a sense of personal style. However, sometimes you need something different. So just like when asking about different techniques, asking myself about different colors is extremely helpful. And sometimes I ask what color I want to see less. This gives me the opportunity to let go of something to invite something else in. 

Is this finished?

Of course the never ending debate about "finished art". When I find myself questioning this it usually means two things. One it is finished and I have to be courageous enough to stop. Or its really close to being finished and I need to consider some finishing touches. Sometimes deciding those finishing touches involves asking the questions above. 

As you can probably see, there is a lot of thought and intention behind my creative process. But I also make a point to find my flow and work mindlessly. Each piece is usually a combination of both very little thinking and a lot of thinking. 

Do you have questions that you ask when creating? 

Organizing Creative Ideas

The thing about creative ideas is you never know when you're going to have them. Sometimes it seems like you can easily think of one idea after another. But then sometimes you feel as if your creative well has completely dried up.

Does that ever happen to you?

I've lived through both extremes and discovered that having ideas on hand is so helpful for when you have no ideas or so many you're overwhelmed.

Here are some things I do to organize ideas so they are always on hand. 

1) I use Evernote or some kind of note taking app on my phone. I like Evernote because it allows me to tag and sort things easily. And I can go back and search if I can't remember where I put something. But the point is, when I have an idea I pull out my phone and write as much detail as I can about it. Size, shape, colors, function, etc. I've learned that including a bunch of details here means I'm less likely to look at it later with no idea what I meant. I'm also more likely to be able to expand on the idea into more ideas.

2) Sometimes we have ideas that are best drawn or doodled. For those times, I keep a small notebook in my purse. And honestly I grab this sometimes when I want to write the idea too. It gives me plenty of space to draw and write what's in my mind. Many times I will go back to these and input them in Evernote so everything is together.

3) Pinterest is another tool I use. I know it's easy to get sucked into the never-ending scroll of Pinterest. But if you stay focused and don't look, you can avoid that. (Easier said than done right?) Sometimes when I have an idea, maybe for a specific project and I want a color scheme to go with it, I'll search for it on Pinterest. Or if I see a technique that I'm not exactly sure how to do, I'll search it there. Anytime I feel I need more visual direction, Pinterest is my go-to. 

4) Sometimes the idea doesn't come from my own head but from something I've seen. Maybe a window display, a photo in a magazine, or an outfit. When this happens, I try to take a photo or screenshot. Usually I do this for textures, color combos, or the aesthetic of a piece. Later, I'll go through my photos and upload them to Evernote with notes about what I liked or want to remember about that idea.

5) One last thing I tend to do is combine these tools. I'll see something that sparks an idea. Then I'll take a photo and write and draw where I want to take that idea. Then I'll use Pinterest to fill any missing pieces of the idea. Then I can put it all into Evernote for easy access when I'm ready to create.

Most of my ideas don't come when I'm at my table ready to work. But keeping track of my ideas means I have somewhere to look for inspiration when I am ready to work. Using Evernote for this gives me one place to look for inspiration. When I'm thinking of projects, I go to the art projects notebook there. Then I can take a seed of an idea and make it work for what I'm doing. Or if I have no ideas then at least have somewhere to start.

What are your favorite ways to organize creative ideas? 

How do I know when my painting is finished?

First and foremost, it’s a feeling. For me, it’s not really a sigh of relief, more of a “I’m tired of this and ready to let it go”. I don’t mean that to sound harsh. I love painting! I love the process and most of the time I love the end result. Let me tell you about a painting that I tried to keep finishing. It was several weeks ago. I was working on a canvas a good bit bigger than I’m used to. I added many, many layers to this canvas because it kept calling for more. I finally got to a point where I was ready to be finished. But as I looked at it I really hated it. It felt ugly to me on every level. So I thought, “This can’t be finished if I don’t like it.” I’m supposed to love everything I paint, right? With the hopes of “fixing” it, I hung it on my wall. I looked at it from a distance and in different lighting. But over the course of a few days, it became uglier to me. So what did I do? I painted over the whole thing with black paint and stuck it back with my blank canvases. The reality was, that painting was finished. I was ready to let it go and take the lessons I had learned from it on to another piece. Do you want to know the really cool thing about that painting? The very first layer I had painted the words, “let go” all over it. If art is about the process and if we allow it to seep into our soul, we can really learn something from it. 

Just one step at a time...

Just take it one day and one step at a time.
I'm pretty sure this is what God is telling me lately. I so easily get caught up in the distant future and how it's all supposed to work out. Then I forget the small steps along the way. I forget to focus on what I can do today and in this moment that can lead me to those bigger dreams. I forget to be present. I forget that I can't do it all right this second no matter how hard I push myself. 

 

Art Journaling hurts sometimes

Last week, I discussed how I love the freedom of art journaling. And I still do. But you know, art journaling can hurt sometimes. Or at least it can help us face things on paper that maybe we've been avoiding in our everyday lives. When given the push to look at our true selves through an avenue as safe as paper and paint, it's amazing what comes up. While working on this spread, I had to be honest with myself. Honestly with ourselves can be hardest to muster. But I pushed through and I'm glad I did.

The Freedom of Art Journaling

I recently joined the Get Messy Art Journal group. It's a monthly membership site that provides you with weekly art journal prompts. Every two months a new season begins. I somehow had the lucky timing to join just before a new season began! This season is called "introspection". I'm not going to share the specific prompts, but I wanted to share my first pages and some thoughts. 

I started first my altering a hard bound journal with watercolor and cardstock pages. (I'll be sharing a more detailed look at how I made my journal soon.) Then I decided I wanted a title page of sorts. This is what it looks like. It's pretty simple. 

After the prompts were realized, I created the spread you see on the bottom. The photo was collaged after I painted the basic rays of color. After adding my journaling, I added those dots. I know there are a lot of them, but I painted them while talking to my sister on the phone, so it went by quickly. When I finished that, I had a bit of paint left over so I added some dots to the cover of another journal. 

Here is a closer view of that. 
So, here's the thing I love about art journaling. Ever since painting those dots, I've had ideas for a larger painting developing in my mind. I'm sure something I saw at some point influenced those dots. However, without the freedom of my art journal, I may not have come to the idea of the painting. Or it may have taken a while longer. While I was working on that spread, I wasn't thinking about what it may become or how it would look in the end. I was just taking one step at a time and not over thinking it. It helped something unlock in my mind. 
Have you tired art journaling yet? 

Mornings and a Red Balloon

This morning I woke up early, before my alarm went off. I’ve actually been doing this while and I like it. It helps me steal away some of the early morning moments for painting, creative play, and prayer. It’s like my body and mind know I need it more than extra sleep. I like to watch the sun come up through the trees before I actually get out of bed and start painting. This morning, I finished up a small painting I had started a few months ago. I knew it wasn’t quite finished then. But I put it away as if it were. Then yesterday, I started thinking about what to give my friend for her upcoming birthday and I remembered this painting. She has a thing for red balloons. She even has a photo of one on the home screen of her phone. It comes from a children’s book but I can’t remember what it’s called. All it took to finish this painting was taking the magenta balloon to red and having someone to give it to. I find it difficult sometimes to create for unknown people. Most of the time I just try to create for myself, even if I don’t intend on keeping it. Other times, images and stokes flow quite easily.
Thank you for stopping by today and spending a few of your spare moments with me.  

 

Layers, Ogres, and Paint

"Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers." -Shrek

There are two things that seem to always show up in my work: layers and reused materials. Today I'm going to talk about layers.

I love working in layers. It’s such a process all on it’s own. And everything changes from one layer to next. If I don’t like something, I know it can be covered up or altered. If I like something I can try to save it from other layers, but I can never truly protect it. Letting a painting evolve takes time and patience. Just like discovering our souls. People, like onions and ogres, have some many layers. And the more time we take to discover those layers the better human beings we become. Art is one way I discover my layers. With each painting or project, I leave a little bit of my old self behind and learn a little more about my true soul. Like onions, self discovery is not always a glamorous process. But it’s leading me to something much better. 

With the painting of this girl, I started with a layered green background. Then I sketched her face and started to paint her. I didn't intend to make her look like ogre, it just happened. I've noticed I usually paint faces in unnatural colors. As I worked on her more and more, I realized the background wasn't right. This happens to me often. The good thing is, the green background didn't go to waste. It was used to tint my new teal background. That's one of the cool things about layering- everything seems to slightly affect the next layer. 

So I hope that you are taking some time to peel back your layers. And don’t forget to laugh. Life is no fun when you take yourself too seriously!  
If you are interested in buying this canvas, you can check it out on Etsy!

Working through the "ugly"

I decided yesterday a bit on a whim that I was going to make a card everyday for two weeks. In two weeks, it will be Valentine's Day and about two weeks before I move into a new place. I've been feeling a little lack luster in the creative department lately. I wanted this to change. I needed it to change. Being as programmatic as always, I decided to lay all the materials the night before. Then there wouldn't be as much indecisiveness when morning came. What I didn't expect was to hate everything I was creating. Sure I've been here before. But I can usually pull it around and feel ok about it. Not this card. Everything I tried felt forced and weird. So why didn't I just ditch it? I knew if I didn't finish it, then I wouldn't make another card or anything for a while. I would feel defeated and unworthy. I would be a quitter. Which is always worse than a failure. So what's my point? Sometimes it's best to just finish it even when you think the project is ugly. I looked at the card again after all day away. I still thought it was ugly. However, I laid out my supplies for tomorrow. I'll be ready to try again in the morning because I didn't let a subpar card get the best of me. 

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