Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My "Grapes of Wrath" art has been published !!

I entered a challenge from Stampington & Co. earlier this year to create art representing Classic Literature.  At first I imagined creating a mixed media piece of one of my own favorite books.  Then I began to browse through the vintage photos I have saved on my PC.  When I found the photo of two children working in the vegetable fields, I knew that was the one I wanted to use for my art.  I've saved this vintage photo for several years because of the look on their faces and the story that the photo told.  So this photo became the beginning of my art representing "Grapes of Wrath."

During my creative process for this art, I went to the library for a copy of "Grapes of Wrath" to reread.  It's amazing how different it read for me now from how the story was for me many years ago. 

After searching through my photos I chose another one - this time it was my father and his friend sitting on the running board of an old pickup truck - a photo from the 1940s.  I found a photo of cotton fields to add, and a US map showing Route 66 crossing the country. 

I wanted a brown and tan look to the art to echo the Dust Bowl feeling, and based the canvas in acrylic paints in those colors.  I added vintage lace, vintage papers and pieces of my handmade paper.  Under the photos I used burlap and wrinkled fabrics.  I printed quotes from the book and glued them to coffee stained tags, along with the cotton field photo.  I added a vintage car key, a vintage button and an envelope dated in the 1940s.

While the style of this mixed media was a bit different for me (I didn't include any of my own drawing) I really enjoyed the process!

You can find my "Grapes of Wrath" in Stampington & Company's magazine Somerset Studio Gallery, Winter 2011 issue.  Thank you Stampington & Co. for publishing my art!

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Creativity is not something you wait for"

Three times a week I receive inspirational messages via email from Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the book series "Conversations With God."  He titles these short little emails "I believe God wants you to know."

Today I received the message below.  It's the perfect message for me right now.  When you read it and you reach the word "Linda" put your own name in that first sentence.  Perhaps it will be the perfect message for you too.

On this day of your life, Linda, I believe God wants you to know...

...that creativity is not something you wait for.

It is something that waits for you.

You must decide to be creative, not wait to be.

You must challenge yourself. Pick up the brush.

Grab hold of the camera. Turn on the computer.

Start cooking the meal. Get to the workplace early.

Propose the solution. Advance the idea.

Become the answer.

How do you suppose these very words were written by me?

Do you think I have time to wait for "an inspiration"?

I must be the inspiration. And so must you.

Print this out and put it right in front of you today.

So I printed this email and it's now taped to the shelf above my printer.  It will be a reminder that I have everything inside me already to inspire me, to release that creativity I am seeking and allow me to BE the artist I was born to be.  I hope this inspires you too!
Linda Harbin
Visit me at my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MidwestieLady
my ArtFire shop: http://www.artfire.com/users/MidwestieLady
and my ArtFire shop featuring animals:  http://www.artfire.com/users/ISeeAnimals

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stampington and Co.

Woo Hoo !!!   Thank you, Stampington and Co.!   My art is in the latest issue of GreenCraft magazine along with an article that I wrote!  This is truly a dream come true for me!

In May, I received an email from Amanda Crabtree, Senior Managing Editor of GreenCraft, that several pieces of my art would be published in the Autumn 2011 issue of GreenCraft.  She also asked if I could write the article about my pieces with the background, material list and step-by-step instructions.  My answer was "Yes! I'd love to try..."

I had loved creating the bird tins and dress banner. When I first read about the call for art created from the Stampington calendars, I wasn't sure I wanted to cut up my beloved calendars.  Then I saw all the birds and bird nests in the calendars and my idea was born - I love birds and I'd make tins covered with birds, feathers and bird nests.  I could display these tins in my art studio and fill them with paint brushes, colored pencils and ink pens.

Next I noticed all the little paper dresses in the calendars and began to cut them out.  I used mini clothespins from my collection to hang the dresses from a twine clothesline and added one cute little lady too. I added some unique legs from the calendars to some of the dresses and my dress banner was finished!

The two photos above are the ones I took before I sent my altered calendar creations to GreenCraft.

In May I wrote the article with my story, the materials list, the instructions and my bio, and sent it via email to Amanda.  My article was accepted!   I was thrilled when the GreenCraft magazine arrived this week!  The photos that the staff at GreenCraft took of my creations are beautiful and and the layout is perfect!  Thank you, Amanda, all the staff and the photographers!  I'm so honored to be included in this magazine filled with unique, altered and repurposed creations made by talented artists.

You can find this latest issue of GreenCraft, Autumn 2011 at your local bookstore, craft store or news stand.  You'll read about how I learned to "make do" from my mom and about how I learned to recycle too.
Be sure to check out all the wonderful creations in this issue, like the darling pincushions on the cover made by Amber Demien.

And on pages 116-119 you'll find my feature article about my repurposed calendar art!

Thanks for stopping by MidwestieLady!  I'd love it if you'd leave a comment and say hello!

Linda Harbin

Visit me at my Etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/MidwestieLady
and my ArtFire shop:  http://www.artfire.com/users/MidwestieLady
and my ArtFire shop featuring animals:  http://www.artfire.com/users/ISeeAnimals

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Midwest Memories

Memorial Day has always been a very special day for me.  It's the day to remember all the men and women who have served in our military, those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms.  It's also a day to bless those who continue to serve and their families who wait for them at home.

I grew up in Iowa, in the heart of the Midwest where Memorial Day was also known as Decoration Day. It was a day to decorate the graves of our family and friends in addition to honoring Memorial Day and we spent the entire day decorating graves with fresh flowers.  By the end of May in Iowa, we had fragrant lilacs, beautiful peonies and wild flowers to pick, and we used three pound coffee cans for vases.  My mother and I would put all the fresh flowers in buckets of water, and load them and the empty coffee cans in our car for the trip to Colfax.

On the way, Mom would share stories of growing up in Colfax, of how her Daddy worked in the coal mines and where they lived.  Another favorite story was when her mother sent her to town to buy bread, and let her ride one of the farm horses.  She wasn't supposed to gallop the horse, but she did and lost the quarter for the bread.  By the time these stories were told, we were at the Colfax cemetery where we put out coffee cans of water and arranged the flowers on the graves of our family.  She would show me her parents' graves, tell me about each gravestone and explain who they were.  Some of our family had served in the military and the veterans would have already placed flags at their graves.

In later years, after my Mom's sister died, we added a trip to the Mitchellville cemetery to our Memorial Day plans; there we decorated the graves of Aunt Opal and Uncle Virgil.  When my son was old enough to go with us, he too learned the stories Mom would share and where all the cemeteries were located.  

By the time I moved away from Iowa in 1984, my parents and paternal grandparents had passed.  They are buried in Newton Union Cemetery in Newton, Iowa where they create an avenue of flags for Memorial Day, with huge American flags on flag poles lining the main drive.  I continued the tradition of putting fresh flowers on all the family graves until I moved.

Here in Florida I honor Memorial Day and Decoration Day both.  I hang my American flag - this is a photo of my flag today.  And I always plant colorful annuals in a huge flower pot to enjoy all summer.  These flowers remind me of Decoration Day and all the traditions I learned many years ago.

Linda Harbin

MidwestieLady on ArtFire
ISeeAnimals on ArtFire

Stampington & Co.

Three years ago, I didn't know about Stampington & Co.  Then browsing through a Barnes and Noble bookstore, I found a wonderful magazine with mixed media art and I fell in love with "Somerset Studio."  Over the next three years, I purchased and collected many of the Stampington & Co. magazines and experimented with the art techniques I discovered in them.  I opened three shops on the internet to share my mixed media art and other creations, and began to submit my art to the calls and challenges from Stampington & Co.  I began to dream too.

Earlier this month, on May 16, my dream came true.  My art, a mixed media canvas with dark rocky hills and pretty red poppies, was published in "Somerset Studio Gallery, Summer 2011."

Thank you, Stampington & Co.!  Thank you for your many beautiful magazines and the opportunities you offer for all artists to share their art with your readers and the world.

Thank you for publishing my poppy art and giving wings to my dream!

Linda Harbin

MidwestieLady on Etsy
MidwestieLady on ArtFire
ISeeAnimals on ArtFire

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I've been PUBLISHED by Stampington ... on page 60!

I've had a very exciting week!  Last Friday I received an email from GreenCraft, one of Stampington's magazines, that they were going to feature two of my art projects from a recent challenge in the fall issue of GreenCraft and they asked me to write the article.  I had created a set of seven containers for my art brushes using tin cans covered with images of birds, bird nests and eggs from two of Stampington's calendars.  I also created a banner using dresses cut from their calendars, adding sets of legs to some of the dresses and hanging them from a twine clothesline with little wood clothespins.  I spent several hours this weekend writing and editing this article, list of materials and tips, and will be sending it to them today.

Yesterday I headed out to run errands and drove up to my mailbox.  Inside was a thick magazine wrapped in clear wrap.  I thought it was a catalog and turned it over.  There on a yellow page was a letter from Stampington saying "Congratulations! You've been published in...Somerset Studio Gallery.  We would like to congratulate you on being published and hope you enjoy this complimentay copy that you can share with family and friends before it hits the newsstands!"  It went on to wish me luck in my artistic endeavors and hope that I would continue to share my creations with them.

I was puzzled and decided that they had sent me a copy of Somerset Studio Gallery by mistake.  I thought that because I was working with GreenCraft magazine that there was a mix-up.  Then in a few minutes, I began to wonder if my art really was in this issue of Somerset Studio Gallery.  I decided to look through the magazine..and on page 60, I found my art!

They published my poppy art that I submitted months ago.  This canvas was a combination of my original drawing and painting of poppies mixed with textured rocks made from house paint, scraps of paper and a quote from John Keats.  This is one of the few pieces I've done where I drew something and painted it; I usually use vintage photos.   (Check back here next week for the tutorial on using house paint for texture.)

I was so surprised - I almost couldn't believe it!  The first time you see your art published, you see your name and city, and you want to tell everyone!  I closed the magazine, drove towards Crystal River, then reached for my cell phone to call my family in Orlando and my friends with this good news.  I've been published!!!  But I had left my cell phone at home.  I made those calls last night and am sharing the news today with my Melange Team on Etsy, on Facebook and with this blog article.  I've been submitting art to Stampington for over two years and dreaming of being published some day.

So within five days, I've received news that my art will be published by Stampington two times.  The Summer 2011 issue of Somerset Studio Gallery where my poppy art is on page 60 will be in bookstores soon. The   GreenCraft fall issue with my article will be out August 1.  This feature will include links to my shops, my blog and my email too.

Thanks for sharing my celebration over my good news and joining in my happy dance!

Linda Harbin

MidwestieLady on Etsy
MidwestieLady on ArtFire
ISeeAnimals shop on ArtFire

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do you want to learn more about Social Media?

Here's how ... with this announcement from Artfire!

The Social Media Boot Camp from Postling and ArtFire

Do you want to improve your social media strategy? With the help of our friends at Postling we’ve put together a social media boot camp for you to do just that! Learn how to get the most out of Facebook and Twitter, review and develop your social strategies, and get answers to your questions; all as part of the Social Media Boot Camp designed just for you.

The camp runs from April 4th to May 13th. Each week boot campers will receive emails on the weeks topics, have opportunities to discuss the topics and ask questions in the ArtFire forums, and get suggested tasks and goals to help you implement what you’ve learned. We welcome anyone who would like learn more about social media to sign up and join us on April 4th!  This Book Camp is free, and is open to everyone!

Sign up here:  https://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=promos&op=bootcamp

I've signed up and hope to see you there too!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Button Nails for your art display!

I have a colorful collection of ACEOs - Art Cards, Editions, Originals - little 2-1/2" by 3'1/2" cards that I have collected over the last few years. I've been displaying them on a single cord with little clothespins to clip them to the line.

When I decided to make a wall display using a narrow section of one wall in my art studio, I wanted to hang each ACEO from a hanger or a nail.  I wanted to make each hanger match the colors in the ACEO.  As I stood in my art studio looking around for inspiration, I saw my jars of buttons! Right then, button nails were born!

For each ACEO, I choose a yarn that matched the colors in the ACEO and taped a short piece of that yard to the back for a hanger.  Then I chose a button to match each ACEO. 

I used E6000 to glue each button to the flat head of a sheet rock nail. 

I stood them up to let the glue dry.

I first arranged my ACEOs on the floor to make an arrangment that would fit my space and one that I liked.  I marked the placement of each nail on my wall with a pencil.  I decided I wanted the head of each button nail to stick out from the wall - not be too close to the wall. .

I knew that I didn't want to pound on the button to put the individual button nails in the wall, so I first pounded a plain sheet rock nail in the wall.  I pulled that nail back out, using pliers.  Then I put the nail with the button in the hole I had made in the wall board.

I made extra button nails too, so I can collect more ACEOs!

If you have any questions about making your own button nails, please contact me through one of my on-line shops on ArtFire or Etsy.  Have fun!

Linda Harbin
MidwestieLady on ArtFire
MidwestieLady on Etsy
ISeeAnimals on ArtFire

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Whooping Cranes have arrived - they're BACK!!

My alarm went off at 6:00 am this morning. After a quick breakfast, I dressed in warm winter clothes and boots and headed off in my car to Homosassa, Florida - 40 minutes away.  I was going to an exciting event and I pictured lots of people gathered in the WalMart parking lot - it was the designated place to be! 

When I arrived at the parking lot, there were only about 10 cars. So I snapped a photo and waited. At sunrise around 7:30 am, more cars arrived. Some people went into WalMart but others sat in their cars and trucks.  Those were the ones like me - waiting for the exciting flyover!

We all knew that the last five young whooping cranes in the Class of 2010 would leave at sunrise from the Dunnellon area 26 miles to the north and follow an ultralight plane in their winter quarters at the Chassahowitza National Wildlife Refuge south of Homosassa. Other young cranes from this group have already arrived at other winter quarters north of here, and today was the final leg of this year's migration.  The journey of 1,285 air miles that began in Necedah, Wisconsin on October 10, 2010 would be brought to a conclusion today with the delivery of the last five juvenile Whooping cranes to the Chassahowitzka Refuge - 73 migration days later.

As the sun rose and the day became brighter, we watched to the north as we waited.  We slowly came out of our cars and gathered in little groups to chat with others and watch. There was very little wind and the morning was pretty chilly - around 40 degrees, but I was too excited to feel the cold.  For me, this flyover was something I had wanted to see for years.

Then someone shouted "There they are!" and we could see the tiny pale orange ultralight plane off to the north. As it came closer, we could see the tiny dots of four whooping cranes flying on the left side of the ultralight.  They flew directly over us and I managed to snap three photos, hoping they were focused so I'd be able to crop and enlarge them.  The fifth whooping crane came next, flying alone next to the second ultralight, but they were farther to the west and not directly over us, so I wasn't able to get a photo of that one.

The photo at the top of this post was the first photo I took of the cranes.  Below are the others:

Before sunrise in Homosassa, Florida:

Just as the sun came up - WalMart parking lot in Homosassa, Florida:

As the ultralight plane and the four whooping cranes came into view and flew overhead:

Here's the home web site for this year's Operation Migration, which is now complete for the Class of 2010.  You can learn about this year's migration, how the young cranes are raised in Wisconsin and how they are trained to prepare them for this first migration.  More photos of today's flyover are posted there too:


One thing that I learned today from people I met at the flyover - the young cranes are not following the ultralight plane.  They are following a person dressed in a crane suit who is sitting in the ultralight calling them with a special crane caller.  Another tidbit - before they are even hatched, the baby cranes still in their eggs listen to recorded sounds of an ultralight plane.  I didn't take the closeup photo of the two cranes directly above, but wanted to share it with you. Aren't they beautiful? They are the tallest birds in North America standing five feet tall.

Operation Migration is a vital part in saving these beautiful endangered whooping cranes.  What an exciting morning for all of us to see today's flyover.  I wish you had been able to see it with me.  Add it to your list of things to do - go with Linda to see a flyover of the Class of 2011, ok?

Linda Harbin

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Painting on Glass

During the Christmas holiday, I visited my sister's home near Orlando, Florida.  Her Christmas tree was decorated with many keepsake ornaments and also many handmade ones.  I took the time to photograph several of the handpainted ornaments I had given her over the years.  As I edited and filed these photographs in my PC, I decided to share them with you here on my blog. Please excuse the imperfect photos as I was just trying to capture the different designs I've painted over the years. These are not all of the designs I painted, but they will give you suggestions to try.

If you have never painted on glass, now is the perfect time to try it.  Right now in January, many of the craft stores are having sales on glass ornaments, both the clear ones and the painted ones.  This is the time to stock up on glass ornaments to paint so you'll be ready for next Christmas.  Also, heart-shaped glass ornaments can be painted for Valentine's Day too!

I use FolkArt Enamels - acrylic paint for glass and ceramics for my glass ornaments. I don't cure them in the oven after painting as the paint bottle suggests. Instead, I let my glass painted ornaments air dry and consider them permanently cured after 2 or 3 weeks.  I clean the surface of the glass ornament with alcohol before painting. Test the surface in a tiny spot first with the alcohol if you are using a painted glass ball -  to make sure no paint comes off.

The ornaments below are examples of painted ornaments, rather than clear ones.

Here are more designs from past years:

This little heart shape would make a perfect Valentine's ornament too!

I love the little reindeer on this snowman's scarf.

I also painted reindeer faces with bird houses handing from their antlers!  I'll need to look for one to photograph to share. The bird with the button is also an ornament that I made for everyone in our family.

I hope your January shopping leads you to glass ornaments and you consider exploring glass painting.  You will only need 5 colors for most of the designs I painted - white, black, red, green and a blue.

I'd love to hear your comments and also the results of your glass painting, so click on "comments" below.

Have fun!
Linda Harbin