Monday, April 30, 2012

Mixed Media Art Journals

Tomorrow I begin a three session workshop at the Sharon Arts Center School of Art & Craft in beautiful Sharon, NH. Always a wonderful place to teach, I especially look forward to this journaling class. It seems that folks who haven't tried their hand at art journaling leave enlightened and so happy to have begun the journey. It's a joy to share. We always have a great time and three sessions go by so fast.

© Nancy Lefko

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not Fossils, But Almost As Old

My search in the basement did not uncover my high school art portfolio, but I did find a few old sketchbooks.

Always a dance follower, and a dancer in high school, I often turned to dancers as subjects for my artwork back then.

Now with a new ballet series on my art desk, I was happy to uncover these relics for inspiration.

© Nancy Lefko

It All Begins with a Sketch

Ideas for a new series have been whirling around in my head, so the first step is to sketch them in my idea book or they'll be lost forever when my mind gets filled with a thousand other things.

The idea for a series relating to ballet came from a friend's suggestion. Once I began the sketching it brought me back to my high school art classes where I created many, many images of dancers in a variety of media. That prompted the question, "Where is my old high school art portfolio?" I know it is here SOMEWHERE. I'd love to find it and photograph some of the work to use somehow in my current ballet series. The first search did not yield results. But I won't give up. Apparently there will need to be a good amount of digging and reorganizing in the basement to uncover my old portfolio.

Stay tuned :)

© Nancy Lefko

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Series

What better use of a rainy Sunday than to complete a new series of artwork. This "cocktail series" was created for Julie, my licensing agent at Artistic Designs Group, hopefully in time for a little debut at Surtex in May.

I envision this artwork on coasters or cocktail napkins. What do you think?

© Nancy Lefko

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Somerset Studio May June 2012

Quite a surprise today when I opened the newest issue of Somerset Studio magazine and found my collaged building blocks. I hadn't sent them in for this particular call for art, but that's the thing about publications, you never really know where your work may fit best!

In addition to the images shown in the magazine, the blocks have many sides and a variety of ways to be displayed. I created themes around 'home' and 'family' and added vintage text, music and dictionary pages to accompany the vintage images.

To recreate the look I have here, simply paint the blocks with brown acrylic paint and allow to dry. Cover each side with an even coating of Elmer's School Glue and when tacky, cover with a coating of robin's egg blue fluid acrylic paint. (I find that the easiest method is to work on three sides while holding the block, dry the paint with a hair dryer (or heat gun) and then continue on with the remaining three sides.) You won't need to force dry the glue, as by the time you are ready to paint your coat of blue paint, the glue will be the right 'tackiness.'

When the blue paint has been painted on, applying just one coat and not over-working, dry with a hair dryer and you'll see the crackles forming. (Do not touch the crackled paint until it is completely dried or it will smudge.) When all is completely dry (later that day) darken the edges of the blocks with brown fluid chalk ink. Now you can decorate with words, images and text to your delight!

It's great fun to share the pages of this great publication with my dear friends Pam Carriker and Seth Apter.

© Nancy Lefko

Illustration Friday ~ HEIGHTS

Aspire to fly...without fear of HEIGHTS.

To see the myriad of takes on the prompt, hop on over to Illustration Friday and check out all of the marvelous artwork there is to see.

This collage is currently available in my Etsy shop.

© Nancy Lefko

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giveaway at Allen Designs!

I have long admired the bright and whimsical art by Michelle Allen of Allen Designs. If you haven't yet visited Michelle's shop you really must do so, and while you're in her neck of the woods, be sure to enter her fabulous blog giveaway!

Image © Allen Designs

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Today's the day...I've drawn the name of the lucky winner of Seth Apter's wonderful new book The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed.

We're not talkin' high tech name selection here folks, but in the end, I had a winner!

Congratulations to Tammy Olson! I'll be sending you an email, Tammy, so I can get your shipping address. Thanks to all who entered this giveaway and special thanks to my friend Seth for asking me to be a part of his blog hop.

And Then There Were Limes

"2 tangy" is the latest piece in my produce series and I am already thinking of my next series. Just wish I had time to complete it before the Surtex deadline. Oh well. It'll be all ready for the next show.

© Nancy Lefko

Friday, April 13, 2012

Illustration Friday ~ PUZZLED

His identity may have left her PUZZLED, but she was absolutely sure about his kiss.

I've reached deep into the archives for this piece; I hope you enjoy it. I have a special fondness for Nick & Nora Charles and all of the wonderful "Thin Man" movies. They sure don't make 'em like they used to.

To see the myriad of takes on the prompt, hop on over to Illustration Friday and check out all of the marvelous artwork there is to see.

© Nancy Lefko

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Productive Day

It's amazing what one can accomplish when the Internet goes down for the day.

This new mixed media collage was created to send off to my licensing agent in time for its debut at Surtex.

The following photos show the progression of the piece throughout the day.

Now before our connection goes down again I'd better hurry up and send her the files. (And in case you're wondering, YES, our internet service is a LEMON.)

© Nancy Lefko

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Big Etsy Shop Update!

Just in time for the warm weather, I've listed nine new collages in my Etsy shop, all with yummy springtime colors.

Each of these new 4" x 4" mixed media pieces is the perfect size to slip in the mail and send to that special friend. A little gift to say, "I'm thinking of you."

© Nancy Lefko

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Etsy Shop

A class sample and the piece I created during my workshop at The Sharon Arts Center School of Art & Craft are now available in my Etsy shop.

© Nancy Lefko

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed

It was indeed my pleasure to meet, and get to know, the very talented Seth Apter at last year's Art Is...You: The East Coast Art Retreat. Seth and I had both contributed to Pam Carriker's wonderful book, Art at the Speed of Life, and it was such fun for all of us to spend time together at such an incredibly artful event.

At that time Seth was still working on his yet to be published book, but knowing Seth's talent and the wealth of amazing book contributors, we were already so eager for its release.

Seth and I kept in email contact after the art retreat and I am incredibly honored to be a part of the promotional blog hop in honor of his wonderful book, The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed.

In order to help those of us participating in the blog hop feel as if we are a part of the book, and for readers to get a better feel for the book, Seth has asked us to answer questions such as those asked of the contributors in the book.

The questions I chose and my answers are as follows:

How has the Internet changed your artistic practice?

Without the Internet I’m not sure I would have re-discovered myself as an artist. It was through web-surfing many years ago that I discovered the world of mixed media and altered art and prompted me to make time in my life again for art. Certainly the opportunity to share and sell my art to a worldwide audience because of the Internet is something that never existed years ago when, at best, my artwork hung on our living room walls for the occasional visitor to see. And it doesn’t stop there. The online workshops I teach are a way to reach out to far more students that I ever could by teaching at our local art school. However, I think the biggest impact on my artistic practices has been through the connections I’ve made via the Internet with artists who have become friends although we are hundreds of miles apart. Those wonderful friendships have brought artful opportunities and have been a source of inspiration and support vital to my creative life.

Do you enjoy working more intuitively or by carefully thinking through your process?

When I read about other artists who begin a project with absolutely no plan, I admit, I’m a little bit jealous. I really DO want to leap without looking sometimes, but truth be told, I need a plan. The plan doesn’t necessarily need to be sketched out in detail (or even at all) but at the very least, a starting point needs to be mapped out in my mind. I’m not sure if it’s the fear of failure that requires my forethought on a project, but I know I like the safety net that planning seems to offer. Because artful ideas continually dance through my mind, there never seems to be a shortage when it comes time to apply paint to canvas. But one day I imagine I’ll take that intuitive leap with no plan in mind.

Do you create art to work through inner issues, or is studio time more of a distraction to keep from facing your problems?

When worries get me down (and believe me, I’m a world-class worrier) I turn to my art journal to work out what’s preying on my mind. For that span of time when it’s just me and my journal, I can let the burdens of the day spill out onto the page and they lose their grip, if only for awhile. Conversely, when I head to my studio with the intent to create a new canvas, I do so with a light heart. If my mood is blue, or troubles have clouded my mind, I can’t bring the same joy to my art table that I need when starting new artwork.



In celebration of the release of Seth's fabulous book, I will be giving away a copy to one lucky blog reader! Simply leave a comment by Saturday April 14th, WITH an email addy or way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner. (Without contact information I cannot enter your name in the drawing. US entrants only.)

Please do visit all of the great folks taking part in Seth's "book tour blog hop." They have wonderful insights to share and probably a giveaway or two.

April 2 Rice Freeman-Zachery

April 3 Stephanie Lee

April 4 Ali Edwards

April 5 Ro Bruhn

April 6 Roben-Marie Smith

April 8 Kelly Kilmer

April 9 Trudi Sissons

April 10 Melody Nunez

April 11 Dina Wakley

April 12 Stephanie Hilvitz

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sketchbook Challenge ~ OPEN

The Sketchbook Challenge theme for April, OPEN, inspired this journal page.

If you need a little push to get yourself creating...then the Sketchbook Challenge is just for you!

© Nancy Lefko

Illustration Friday ~ VOCAL

With the VOCAL quality of angels, no one seemed to care that the '3 Little Songsters' couldn't count.

To see the myriad of takes on the prompt, hop on over to Illustration Friday and check out all of the marvelous artwork there is to see.

This collage was created with elements from Collage Play with Crowabout; it's currently available in my Etsy shop.

© Nancy Lefko

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Series

I just completed this new series which I'll be sending off to Julie, my licensing agent at Artistic Designs Group. We had talked about my creating a coffee/tea this is what my muse inspired.

I was chasing a deadline as I wanted to have the new pieces ready for Surtex in May. Fingers crossed that these will make a good impression.

This series was not an easy one for me as the first incarnation was ghastly. But, I think I have achieved the fun and funky, yet a little bit vintage, look that suits me.

© Nancy Lefko

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Finding Time

I wasn't able to carve out much time this weekend to work on my new mixed media series. However, I did find time to journal when I settled down on the couch for a Saturday evening with hubby and son #3.

The pages were prepped with paint and collage elements (which was done while the first step on my new series was drying) so all I needed were my markers and charcoal pencil...oh, and an old Perry Mason movie by the fireside.

Just another thing I love about art journaling...portability.

© Nancy Lefko