Liberate Your Art 2017: “Experiment, Play, Create & Liberate”

The LYA blog hop has begun!

As mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap again.  The swap has been running for seven years. I’d “just missed” the first year when I found out about the swap, but I’ve participated every year since.

This year’s stats:

876 pieces of art liberated
146 artists participating
12 countries
30 US states and territories

The words that make up Kat’s theme, “Experiment, Play, Create, and Liberate,” serve as “clues to an expressive, playful, and free approach to making art.” She encourages participants to “keep those four words with us over the next year as we create and share our art.”

I’m happy to report that I received all six unique pieces of art sent my way. [As usual, April is insanely busy, and I haven’t had a moment to stage and photograph the postcards in my environment, so please forgive me].

“Angles and Lines” by Christopher A. 

My first card came from Christopher of Michigan, a piece of art he created in December 2016. Christopher’s circumstances “made” an artist of him and compelled him to take a minimalist approach to art.  He works with what’s available to him–a pencil and a piece of paper folded to make a straight edge.

He shares a quote that appropriately captures his circumstances and his art:

I’ve wanted to somehow convey to you the sensations–the atmospheric pressure, you might say–of what it is to be seriously a long-term prisoner in an American prison.  –Jack Henry Abbott

A few days later, a little bit of Hong Kong graced my mailbox.  Kris sends “love from Texas,” but as she points out, the scene is clearly not Texas:

“Not Texas” by Kris Mc.

I love everything about this photo–the composition, the tone.  There’s so much story in this image!  You can find more of Kris’s stunning work on her blog, on Instagram, and on Flickr.

Greetings from Gabriola Island (Canada) came next.

“The Road to Cold Mountain,” by Paul T.

Paul had fun creating this piece, entitled “The Road to Cold Mountain.” I find it intriguing.  I’d love to know more about it!

Siobhan sent a calming photo postcard with a clock tower reflected on a rippling river.

“1902 Clock Tower” by Siobhan Wolf

The photo was shot at Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.  You can find more of Siobhan’s work at Wolf Tales, her blog.  I love her signature line on the card… #bethelove.

Ella sent a whimiscal watercolor.

“Puff” by Ella L.

Ella completed this watercolor a few years ago.  She sends her card with wishes for the “joy of playfulness.” Ella is a freelance illustrator who works with children’s books and poetry among other things. You can find more of her work on her website: Ellapointe Studio.

If you’ve been following along for the last several years, you know Kat’s postcard always ends the swap.

When I retrieved Kat’s card, I had mixed feelings–excitement because the “long anticipated” Kat card arrived, but disappointment because the card meant the end of the swap and I have to wait a year before it comes around again.

Digital Painting by Kat Sloma

Kat surprised me this year.  Instead of sending one of her photos, she sent a colorful digital art piece.  I realize, though, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  She’d been posting digital paintings via IG: kateyeview.  Trees are one of Kat’s favorite things to photograph, so I like how this image pays tribute to one of her favorite subjects.

Thank you Christopher, Kris, Paul, Siobhan, Ella, Kat and all the other wonderful artists who courageously share your art.  Your creativity inspires me!

I am so grateful for you, Kat.  Thank you for consistently, patiently, and meticulously coordinating LYA.  Your work pushes all of us to strive for the best in our work as artists.

Fortunately, side swaps help us liberate even more art.  If you’re interested in swapping away those extras, let me know. I’ll post the postcards I sent on “Microblog Monday.”

If you want to see more “liberated art,” check out the video featuring art from some of the participants. For a more comprehensive view of the exchange, click the tiny blue frog below.

 

Until next time…create more art!

Tardy for the Party: Liberate Your Art 2016

Imagine my chagrin when I checked my email the morning of April 18th and realized that I’d completely missed the Liberate Your Art 2016 Blog Hop! I was sick for days about it. I blamed Tax Day and the madness of April for my missing out. Oh well. I eventually dusted myself off, and now LYA is my first blog post for May.

Again, I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap, a swap she founded to encourage artists of any medium to share their art with the world. The postcard party just completed its sixth year.

This year there were:

  • 1050 pieces of art liberated
  • 175 artists participating
  • 12 countries represented

I received all six of the postcards that were sent to me this year. Here they are:

"Innocence" by Amy Irwen

“Innocence” by Amy Irwen, November 2015

Amy hails from Rosemount, Minnesota. She created a handcut collage made of paper, ink, paint, and gel medium transfer.  The attacks on Paris in November 2015 led her to create this piece, a commemorative of lives lost.

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Art Journal Painting by Linda Richards

Linda sent greetings from Sunny California.  She shared a reproduction of a painting she had done in her art journal while visiting her son in Missouri.  This image with earth tones and splashes of reds, yellows, and blues is calming and exciting at the same time.

"Journal of My Soul," Rosanna Pogaun

“Journal of My Soul,” Rosanna Pogaun

Mabuhay from the Philippines!  Rosanna sent her beautiful flower with God’s blessings of love and a reminder that the good news is written on God’s handiwork as well as in the Good Book.

"Twilight Eagle," by Diana Brady

“Twilight Eagle,” by Diana Brady

Diana also hailed from California.  She shared her “twilight eagle” with a gorgeous purple sky and the silhouette of trees in the background.  On the back of the card, she penned a poem by an anonymous Native American poet:

What is Life?

It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and
loses itself in the sunset

Light and Bird Mosaic

Light and Bird Mosaic

While we’re on the subject of birds…The artist who created this gorgeous mosaic did not sign a name, but wrote a brief poem on the back of the postcard:

Light and Bird
fused
in the
transparent
morning
sky…….

If you’ve been following my blog over the last year or two or three, then, you’d know that the last postcard sent for the “official” LYA swap, comes from Kat, the swap’s founder, coordinator, and all-around awesome person. She sends her card as a “thank you” to participants.

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“Gatekeeper” by Kat Sloma

Trees are among Kat’s favorite thing to photograph, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see the trees. I love the way she “stacked” this photo allowing the trees to serve as primary frame for the moon but still hold their place as focus of the photo.  You can find more about how Kat crafted this photo here: Masking in Stackables (Mobile Tutorial).

She typically includes the a LYA motivational thought on the back. This year:

LYA 2016-6

And Kat’s last word of the swap–

[Kat Sloma] I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Kat Sloma’s Final Piece for LYA 206

Kat typically ends the celebration with a piece she creates. Notice how she weaves the postcards sent for the swap into her “final” creations. She writes:

I created this year’s final celebration art piece to remind each and every one of us that we are on a journey. We may start on the path of liberating our art timidly, fearful of the response we are going to get. Art is such a personal thing, it can feel like we are putting a piece of our heart and soul out there, where others may reject it. But you know what? The more you liberate your art, the easier it gets. The more confident you get. You just have to keep taking small steps.

Thanks, ladies, for all your beautiful work!

Now, of course, we can’t “participate” in the swap by simply receiving postcards. We have to create something and share it with the world, so tune in tomorrow–or maybe, the next day–when I’ll share the postcards I sent for LYA 2016 as well as postcards I received in “side swaps.”  I still have many left, by the way, so if you’re interested in a “side swap,” let me know.

Want more artistic inspiration?  Check out the LYA 2016 Blog Hop.  Hop to it!

 

 

Let’s Go to the Hop: Liberate Your Art 2015

What a maddening month (so far)! I’m happy to take a moment out of my busy end-of-the-academic-year life to focus on pretty things and happy mail.

For the fourth consecutive year I participated in Kat Sloma’s Liberate Your Art swap.  Again, I sent my art out into the world and have had various expressions of art land in my mailbox in return.

This year I received five of the six postcards that were sent to me.  That’s a little improvement over last year when two postcards went missing. I also received two extras in private swaps.  Here are the postcards I received.

Liberate Your Art 2015:  At Work

Liberate Your Art 2015: Postcards Received

I know this isn’t a very creative or interesting display, but the postcards are “on exhibit” in my “temporary” work environment.  There was an electrical fire in the building that houses my office, so our entire unit is slightly displaced in another building on the basement floor.  Although I can look out (and up) the windows and see beautiful trees all around me, my office walls are bare.  Fortunately, I had the LYA postcards in my craft pouch, so I used them and a couple of photos that I was using as bookmarks to add a bit of color and beauty to the wall I face as I’m working on my laptop.  There’s nothing like a wall of words and art to make me happy all day long!

Let’s take a closer look:

"Summer's Memories (Nellie's Flowes)" by Jane Ross

“Summer’s Memories (Nellie’s Flowes)” by Jane Ross

Jane of Reston, Virginia shares this beautiful reproduction of her mixed media art.  She includes an Australian Aboriginal proverb on the back of the postcard: “Those who lose dreaming are lost.”  She also encourages, “Let your imagination soar”–advice perfectly aligned with the soaring birds in her art.

KnoHerPhotos

“Tiny Tumbleweeds” [my title] by KnoHerPhotos

Jeannette sends greetings from Oregon.  I love these “tiny tumbleweeds” and the shadows they cast on the surface.  Jeannette’s “art starts with her camera.”  Mine too! You can find more of Jeannette’s work beautiful work at KnoHer Photos on either Facebook or Flickr.

"Natural Beauty" [my title] by Cathy

“Natural Beauty” [my title] by Cathy

Cathy hails from Arkansas.  This still life is simply elegant.  She also sends an inspirational quote. “Write it on your heart that every day will be the best day in the year” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).  You can find more of Cathy’s still life photos on her blog, Gramma’s Little Corner.

"Mondrian 2.0: A Tribute to Dutch Painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) by Will Conway

“Mondrian 2.0: A Tribute to Dutch Painter Piet Mondrian” (1872-1944) by Will Conway

Will of Dover, New Hampshire sends wishes for a creative and rewarding year of art.  I am delighted to be introduced to another artist.  Mondrian is new to me.  Like many LYA swappers, he included a quote: “All art is autobiographical.  The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography” (Federico Fellini).

"Imminent Downfall," by Kat Sloma

“Imminent Downfall,” by Kat Sloma

My last postcard of the “official swap” came from Kat, our lovely swap organizer.  Needless to say, this tribute to autumn is clearly a favorite.  Kat writes, “When you liberate your art, the world is a better place. Thank you!”  This does little justice to the word art she places on the back of the postcard each year.

So here it is–

"Kat's Postcard Back," LYA 2015 Thank You

“Kat’s Postcard Back,” LYA 2015 Thank You

I took a little liberty and added the texture.  The postcard back is white. You can find out more about Kat’s photography, the swap, and the courses she teaches by visiting her site:  Kat Eye Studio.

And here are the bonus cards.

"Cakers Knitting," by Cakers

“A Knitting Selfie” [my title], by Cakers

My friend Cakers surprised me and sent one of her postcards when she sent her set to Kat.  She writes, “My art is knitting and photography combined.  Knitting is what I do to calm my mind.  Photography is what I do to express my creative side.”  She includes a quote about knitting “Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled stpirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spiriti either.”  Elizabeth Zimmerman.  You can see more of Cakers art–both knitting and photography–on her blog, Cakers and Company.

And finally, when I saw Sherry’s postcard on the LYA Facebook page, I immediately fell in love with it. She generously offered a postcard to anyone who wanted one.  I accepted, of course!

"Wonder" by Sherry Harmes, Amook Island Creations

“Wonder” by Sherry Harmes, Amook Island Creations

Sherry writes from Amook Island, a remote island off Kodiak Island, Alaska. Notice how she includes a tiny portion of the map in her mixed media piece.  She admonishes,” Conceive, believe, achieve!”

Thank you to all of the artists whose work now adorn my office wall (I’ll be contacting your shortly).  An especial thanks to Kat for committing so much time and energy to the swap year after year and all the helper-swappers in Oregon who give their time and assist her in getting things organized and ready for mailing.

As usual, I had a difficult time selecting photos.  I had postcards made of six and couldn’t decide which one to eliminate, so I let family and friends decide. Even though it was also a challenge for them, everyone voted (against) the tulip.

"A Tulip for You," Huntsville, Alabama

“A Tulip for You,” Huntsville, Alabama

Here are the postcards I liberated. You may recognize “Abandoned,” “December Rose,” and “Dogwood” from earlier posts.

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As usual I enjoyed the swap and am looking forward to next year.  The inspiring work I receive and the amazing bloggers I encounter through Liberate Your Art push my creative growth.   I find myself experimenting more with different subjects, composition, textures and colors.  Every year, it seems, by the time the swap rolls around, I’ve added new techniques, either in composition, or in post-processing.

In liberating our art, we give ourselves to the world.  But it is an amazing gift that we also give ourselves.  We lose self-consciousness and self-judgment and give ourselves permission to create beauty where we are and as we see it.

I have a few postcards left, including the tulip, so if you’re interested in swapping LYA 2015 postcards, just let me know in the comments or via email.  Also, if you’re interested in my 2012-14 Liberate Your Art posts, you may see them here: LYA 2012; LYA 2013; LYA 2014.

You can find out more about the swap and artists by checking out the Liberate Your Art blog hop.  Let’s go:  Liberate Your Art 2015 Participants and Blog Hop!

Liberate Your Art 2014: Art, Mail, and Randomness

Liberate Your Art 2014 came and went all too fast! Thanks to Kat Sloma my post office box was happy again! The poor thing hardly gets any fun mail since we use it primarily for bills and (apparently) junk mail, so I always do a little mental happy dance when I pull something fun from the box.

If you’re “newish” to my blog, Liberate Your Art is the annual “arts festival by mail” hosted by the inimitable Kat Sloma. Kat hosts the swap every year to encourage artists to professionally produce and share their work with the world.  Swappers send five pieces of art to share and receive six by other artists (including one by Kat).  You can see my previous years’ posts by clicking the following links: LYA 2013 art sent and received and 2012 art received and 2012 art sent.

This year I, again, received wonderful pieces.

I know! I know! I should showcase the postcards in my environment, but the last few months have been merciless and have provided no time for creativity or anything fun.  :-/

The first one is a close-up of a fall(en) leaf, one of my favorite subjects, photographed by Jennifer of Small Matters.

"Fall" by Jen Erbe

“Fall” by Jen Erbe

Jennifer shared some wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut: “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

Maddy of the United Kingdom shared this beauty.

"Love" by Maddy

“Love” by Maddy

I love how the randomness works out. I love hearts and usually anything with the word “love” on it.   Maddy, of A Jewelling Passion for Art and Everything Else, wrote on the back of her postcard: “Everyone needs a little love in their life or the world just isn’t right.”

The woman-centered awesomeness below was created by Polly. Check out more of her art on her Flickr site.

"Strong-Warrior-Wise-Happy-Spirit-Creative-Heroine-Woman" by Polly Johnson

“Strong-Warrior-Wise-Happy-Spirit-Creative-Heroine-Woman” by Polly Johnson

Notice the intensity. I’m trying to decide if she should have a (framed) place near my desk.  In fact, this is the only one I was able to get a shot of “in my environment” because I retrieved it early one Friday morning before heading to my office.  So, here it is, appropriately next to the teacher figurine my sister gave me and in front of an artistic interpretation of a victim of female genital mutilation created by one of my former students.

"Women"

“Women”

Last, but not least, Kat sent the stunning “Layered Autumn”–another one from my favorite season.

LYA 2014-1

“Layered Autumn” by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio

See what I mean about how the randomness works out? It’s like the art/mail gods schemed to fill my mailbox with things that would make me giddy.  Needless to say, this one will have a permanent place on my “Colors of Autumn” wall.

I’m trying not to stew about the two postcards that are missing somewhere along the postal route. Experience has taught me that they’ll appear…eventually.

As if she knows I have some “missing in action” postcards, the wonderful Candace, as a “random act of kindness” sent me one of her beauties! Candace of Glenrosa Journeys is an awesome photographer and her bird photos are amazing! This one came just in time for my son to claim for his bird-watching journal.

"Stirred for a Bird," by Candace Porth

“Stirred for a Bird,” by Candace Porth

Candace’s photo came with a verse by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

My heart in hiding

stirred for a bird,

–the achieve of,

the mastery of the thing!

Thanks, Candace! One of my postcards will be winging its way to you in a few days.

Here are the pieces I liberated.  I have extras, so if you want to trade, just send me an email.

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Haven’t had enough?  Click the LYA 2014 blog hop button below and enjoy even more “liberated art.”  While you’re at it, join Kat’s mailing list, so you can join LYA 2015!

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Liberate Your Art 2013

It’s that time again!  The highly anticipated “Liberate Your Art” (LYA) blog hop!!!  Kat Sloma, again, organized her Liberate Your Art postcard swap, and again, I participated!  This is the third year Kat has hosted the swap.  She uses LYA to encourage artists of all media to share their work.  It’s a great opportunity for artists, particularly amateurs like me,  to step out of their comfort zone and share their work.

Each participant creates five postcards (same or different) and sends them to Kat with postage and address labels.  Kat organizes the postcards and sends them out into the world–two per week for three weeks.  The sixth fantastic postcard is always one of her own–her way of saying “Thanks for participating.”  Sharing one’s own work is just part of the fun.  The real fun comes when postcards start appearing in the mailbox from the other participants.  There is a great big international mailbox party going on for three weeks. Here’s what I found in my mailbox:

"Columns," 2011, mixed media on paper

“Columns,” by Eric Adama, 2011, mixed media on paper

Eric is a mixed media artist from the Netherlands.  You can find more of Eric’s mixed media art on his blog, CERULEAN.  He shares a Matsuo Basho quote on the back of his postcard: “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

"Santos Cage Doll, Protector of the Birds," hand-sculpted over paper mache base, 9-10 inches

“Santos Cage Doll, Protector of the Birds,” by Kitty Mitchell, hand-sculpted over paper mache base, 9-10 inches

The sculpture is interesting and I’d love to see more of Kitty’s work.  Alas, there’s no website listed.

"Paper Cranes"

“Paper Cranes,” by A. Whitehurst

Amy took this photo at her favorite place, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia. Amy’s cheerful postcard also includes a quote:  “Change your thoughts and you change the world,” Norman Vincent Peale. See more of Amy’s work here.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams," Henry David Thoreau

By Elissa, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” Henry David Thoreau

Here’s another beautiful mixed media piece.  I love the cheerful colors of this one too!  Elissa, a mixed media artist and photographer, hails from Chiltern Hills in the southeast of the United Kingdom. Check her out right here on WordPress:  Gallery Dee.

"Memories #1"

“Memories #1” by Roxi Hardegree

Roxie sends her elegant photo with blessings to a “fellow creative soul.”  See her work at Creating Beyond the Layers.

"Adorned and Alone," 2013

“Adorned and Alone,” Kat Sloma, 2013

Last, but certainly not least, Kat sends her piece.  The perfect piece to round out my LYA 2013 collection.  It’s simple, yet complex, a little fun; the tone is bluesy and jazzy at the same time.

Kudos to Kat for organizing this swap!  216 artists from 11 countries participated this year.  They shared 1290 pieces of art.  Kat’s purpose for organizing the swap is to get artists to share their work and connect with other artists.  She talks about it on her blog: Kat Eye View of the World.  Thanks for another awesome LYA swap, Kat!

I can’t remember whether I sent 3 or 4 photos into the world.  I was a bit “out of it” and had to rely on my photog friend, Cakers, to choose photos for me.  I recall being home alone, sitting in my home office staring at photo after photo after photo.  I was still seriously reeling from my sister’s passing and nothing made sense to me.  I selected an album, loaded it to Flickr, sent the link to Cakers and asked her to choose and rank the top 5 or 6.  I went with 3 or 4 of her choices (Thanks, Cakers!).  Don’t forget to click an image to view larger.

I simply love capturing images that inspire, intrigue, amuse and feed my spirit.  For me, there is so much joy in holding my camera and freezing a moment or scene.  I enjoy sharing my photos as postcards, greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks and even calendars and digital scrapbooks.  I’m not trying to make a living through photography, but I do work toward improving my technique and presentation.

I also thoroughly enjoy–and might be addicted to–the photographic creations of others.  I am inspired by them, not just to pick up my camera, but to create something beautiful in this life.

Similarly, I am inspired by every piece of art I’ve received through the LYA swap.  The photographers, in particular, push me to step up “my game” and take the time to play more with my photos.  I really need to put my Adobe software to more (and better) use.  Well, that’s my goal for Liberate Your Art 2014–kick it up a notch! If only I had time to take one of Kat’s tempting courses!

What about you?  Is there an artist in you that needs to be released?

One more thing: Please check out the blogs of the other participants by clicking below.  Enjoy!

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