Today I have the great pleasure of introducing you to a wonderful, sweet and caring artist who is not only extremely talented but also very supportive of, and encouraging to other artists.
Journals are kind of a personal thing. Do you want unlined paper? Lined? Grids? I’m all about the paper. How it feels, how well does it take wet media, how is it to write on--with and without paint. For just journaling and writing, I want a fairly slick/smooth type paper since I journal with a real fountain pen or dip pens. I particularly like writing in Picadilly journals. I can tart up the covers, and pretty up the pages and edges easily. I rarely use paint in these journals, but will add washi tape and other decorative elements to the pages to foo-foo them up and break them up a little bit. I can usually fill two Picadilly journals a year just with writing. Writing is so cathartic for me. I MUST do it!
I am also doing some faith-based journaling in a spiral notebook by Blue Sky called “Smart Notes.” It has a hard cover, really nice paper and lots of room to write and make study notes. I am in the process of doing a self-imposed Bible Study course and really studying the Bible. This is my third time to read the Bible cover to cover, but this time, I am really “studying” it. More writing. More healing. More awareness. Hopefully, more growth spiritually, and emotionally.
Right now, I am in love with my Dylusions journals for “art journaling.” I have the large, the small, and as of last week, the new square black one. These journals can really take lots of wet media. They are super smooth, lie flat when working in them, and are a joy to work in.
|Mixed media in my Graphique pocket journal.|
As to other supplies: the world is your oyster. Things that are my favorites include: watercolor, colored pencils – any kind work, but I love the soft nature of Prismacolor pencils, but often use Crayola brand and other brands as well, Sakura gel pens, my trusty bold Signo Uniball 207 pens in black and white, craft and heavy body acrylic paints and Dylusions alcohol ink sprays. I love using stencils and every kind of ephemera (bits and bobs) known to man. Of course I use everything I can play with, get my hands on and can afford to buy. I am only limited by my budget. Definitely not my imagination.
You run a Facebook group called Artful Mail Groupies. What is "artful mail" or mail art?
Mail art exchanges are just that – you create “art” in a specific form and exchange with another member of the group who also signed up to participate in a specific type swap. When I started AMG about 18 months ago, I wanted to trade “art” with other people. Other groups were doing it, but no other mail art group I was in really felt comfortable to me, so I decided to create my own. My idea was to have a group that was personable. You get to know us, we get to know you. We treat you like family and love you the same way. We do everything at AMG. We make and exchange ATC’s (artist trading cards), postcards, rolodex cards, altered art (anything and everything you can alter), tags and the oh-so-fun Happy Mail! If you can dream it up, we can do it. We (me and the admin team) set up the swaps and interested persons in the group sign up, then partners are assigned and each participant creates their swap according to the specific swap guidelines and mails (hopefully) by the specified due date to their assigned partner(s). Happy mail is just that – mail to make someone happy. We basically share our “stuff” for their “stuff” and this can encompass everything from bits of ribbon and lace to painted papers, bits and bobs and ephemera of every description. We often have themed Happy Mail swaps. It might be a little, or it could be a lot. Happy mail is a lot like opening presents on Christmas Day. You never know what you are going to get. One woman’s “extras” are another’s very special treasures. All of which can be used in creating mail art or on your journal pages.
|Altered Book/journal cover that was for a swap in Artful Mail Groupies. Dylusions Acrylic over gesso, stamping and collage. The inside was all tarted up as part of our exchange, but I loved how the cover came out. Left it rather simple so that repeated handling would not deter my partner from using it. |
Out of all the art that you have created, is there any one piece which is your favorite? If so, why?
I have a few that I like more than others, and some I don’t like at all. But picking just one … that’s difficult. Some I like because they just resonate with me. Others I like because of the technique, and still others I like because of the materials or overall composition. The ones I don’t like others may love and I am always appreciative of their positive comments. I am my own worst critic. Picking just one favorite…can’t do it!
|Acrylic in my Canson 9x12 mixed media journal in response to a prompt to create something that was “Picasso” inspired. This was mine.|
Recently you planned and hosted your first art retreat! How exciting! Can you tell us a little bit about the art retreat. Will there be another one?
Oh my, was this ever fun and it was a great success. All the attendees seemed to have a great time and we enjoyed each other’s company immensely. In an effort to make the retreat affordable to everyone in our groups, I tried to keep the costs down by doing everything myself. Attendees paid $115 that included 4 nights lodging, all their meals, the off-site workshop and all their supplies during the retreat. I had made arrangements for us to stay at a huge 4200 sf residence on the other side of the lake (I live on a beautiful lake about 55 miles east of Dallas), but sadly, the property owner long leased it out from under me. I couldn’t find anything anywhere close to similar in size and adding the cost of a hotel was NOT in the budget, so I ended up hosting at our vacation rental property, which was about half the size. It’s a cute cabin, right on the water. The weather was perfect the first two days, rain for the next two, but we didn’t mind. We were all busy arting!
|Mixed media in my 9x12” Canson mixed media journal. This is the type of page that is hardest for me. I can add paint until the cows come home, but just adding more bits and more paper (JAM = just add more) is the hardest for me. While cleaning off my worktable one night after making the background page, I just started gluing down random bits of paper and assorted trash and ephemera that was laying on the table. For whatever reason, it actually works and I was happy with it. Used acrylics, stencils, NeoColor II, black china marker, white Signo Uniball pen, threads, found poetry (letters that were just random and laying on the table—I made up the quote), punch cut circles, leftover bits of painted papers and images, cut outs from using decorative scissors, a face image that was printed on deli paper, scraps of scrapbooking paper, a piece of newspaper. JAM. Isn’t it fun?|
We had 10 participants, and I completely emptied out and carted all my art supplies and equipment (6 car loads) to the cabin for everyone to use so they wouldn’t have to bring so much with them. (I won’t do THAT (all the art supplies) again, for sure, and the hubs said he wouldn’t help with that bit again, either! Ha). We attended the world famous Canton (Texas) Trade Days flea market on Thursday, stayed in and arted all day on Friday (it was pouring rain all day anyway, but we didn’t care), went to a workshop at Big Mouth Scrappers in Forney, Texas on Saturday and made the cutest Texas-themed journal, designed by Angela Medina (designer for Tim Holtz). Tiffany Goff Smith came all the way from Alabama and taught us a new way to make mail art envelopes to get us to “think outside the box”. We did a journal collaboration project and an altered cigar box project, in addition to more basic art journal pages. We had attendees from California, Arizona, Illinois, Alabama and Texas.
|Mixed media in Canson 9x12 mixed media journal. Image from Victorian Trading Company catalog; acrylics, textiles and felt ephemera|
We had some very generous donors for our goody bags including Golden Arts, Retro Café Art, UmWow Studios, and iStencils. One of the ladies printed up a bunch of her Teesha Moore style art and gave out to all the attendees for use in their own art. It was a fabulous time and most definitely we will do it again. Early fall in Texas almost always has perfect, predictable weather, and it sure beats the summer heat in the triple digits!
"Paint" a picture of yourself for us using 10 colorful words to describe you, the total picture.
Tall, graying, fluffy, talkative, intelligent, generous, loving, creative, assertive, honest.
Thank you so much Betty, for this wonderful look into your creative process, your art and you.
If you would like to see more of Betty's art, you can find her at the following links: