Liberate Your Art: Side-swapping Shindig

It’s always a bit of a challenge when Liberate Your Art ends, but side swaps help participants extend the camaraderie a little longer. I was so insanely busy when the postcards for side swaps started coming in that I just placed them in an envelope to enjoy after grades, reports, and meetings.

That time has come!

I received 13 cards via the extra swaps, plus a bonus package I’ll share tomorrow. Would you like to review them with me? Here goes…

Sherry H. of Amook Island Creations sent a reproduction of a mixed media piece accented with a Matisse quote:

“Always Flowers,” by Sherry H.

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.  –Henri Matisse

She encourages us to “look to nature for inspiration.”

From Terry O, an “in-progress” project:

“Slow Stitch” by Terry O.

This is a “slow-stitch” project. All of it is done by hand. Terry “attached a worn, paper thin vintage handkerchief to a sturdier fabric–a pink linen tablecloth, thereby creating a new piece.” Isn’t it pretty? I’m impressed that it was stitched by hand.

My penfriend Lisa C sent a “city shot” as she describes it.

“City Shot” by Lisa C

I almost didn’t notice the buildings because I was “lost in the clouds.” Interestingly, the postcard Lisa sent last year also featured clouds.  She shot this from the parking lot of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

You can find more of Lisa’s work on her blog and her website, Chasing the Sun.

Christine B, my faithful friend, sent two. Here’s the first one, a macro shot of a dragonfly.

“Dragonfly” by Christine B.

My hubby added this one to his collection. [He says, “Thanks, Christine!”]

Kathy and I agreed to swap before I received her card as part of the main swap, so I was surprised (and elated) when she sent another mixed media piece.

“Heart in Hand” by Kathy Mc

Like the first one (see LYA 2018 post), this one also started as a magazine page. She altered the page with oil, pastels, acrylics, citra solv, and monoprint. You can find more of Kathy’s work via Sol Sister Studio, her Facebook page.

As expected, Janice D sent a gorgeous mixed media piece–an angel, this time.

“Winging It,” by Janice D.

Her note, appropriate:

We’re all winging it. That’s what angels do.

You might want to go and take a look at last year’s Dreamer again and her LYA blog post to see more of her angels.

From my blogging friend Louise of Drops of Everything:

“Dancing Clothes” by Louise M

Until I read Louise’s caption (“Dancing Clothes”), I was prepared to entitle this one “Linen and Things.” 😉 She added a quote to the back:

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.  –Mother Teresa

I remember hanging up clothes to dry outdoors during the summer when I was younger. I was not yet into “seeing” or photography, so it didn’t strike me as “artistic,” but I had lots of fun running and playing through the drying clothes. Louise’s image makes me wish I could recapture those moments from my childhood.

Check out Louise’s blog for more of her photography and art.

My neighbor, PJ, moved away, but she remembered to reach out for a side swap (She used to live in Tennessee, not too far from me, but moved to Kentucky earlier this year).  She sent mountains:

“Flyover to Oaxaca” by Patsy J (PJ)

The painting is part of a triptych PJ created during a Paint Fearless Mexico retreat last November in Oaxaca. She was inspired by the mountains she flew over to get there.  I’m loving the color combination and would love to see the other parts.

My blog friend, Sheila D, sent a lovely bouquet of flowers.

This piece, a giclée print, was featured in UPPERCASE Magazine. She’s a celebrity! Sheila is seriously productive. You can find more of her work on her blog, at Society 6 or on Instagram.

In keeping with the floral theme, Natasha P. sent a peony party:

“Peony Party” by Natasha P.

This appears to be a mixed media piece. Natasha added a quote on back:

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.  –Mary Lou Cook

After visiting Natasha’s blog, I realize that I’d received one of her postcards–a peacock–the first year I participated in LYA. In fact, she was featured in my first “real” blog post. How nice to reconnect! Natasha has a thriving henna business in San Diego.

Peonies seem to be the thing this year. I’m seeing photos and art of peonies everywhere I turn. I even “discovered” some peonies I shot some time ago. I’m not sure they’re worth sharing though. Maybe, I’ll play around with them…

Val vdP of Mellowood Studio sent a beautiful winter-themed watercolor:

“Shadows in the Snow” by Val vdP

Isn’t it just perfect? Val works with various forms–watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, monochromatic, oil. She even does lessons and paint parties. Find lots more of Val’s work on her website: Mellowood Art Gallery. Check out her blog too!

While we’re on the subject of watercolors, Christine sent a pair of sandpipers:

“Sandpipers” by Christine B

Confession–I had to “google” sandpipers to make sure I had the right bird. This watercolor is spot on! 5 green stars, Christine!  I think we should talk Christine into starting a WordPress blog, so she can share her art and photography with a wider audience.

And lastly a “butterfly on deck” from Teresa H.

“Butterfly on Deck” by Teresa H.

I coveted this postcard when Christine posted it in the LYA 2018 group on Facebook. Fortunately, Teresa had one left and she kindly sent it to me! The quote is perfect.

But on paper things can live forever. On paper a butterfly never dies. –Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

Teresa wrote that the butterfly is “about the size of your palm and glides slowly and majestically from blossom to blossom, so it’s easy to get good photos.”

Though it was my first time swapping with Terry, Natasha, Val, and Teresa, I’ve “side-swapped” with the other artists before, and some have become blog friends and regular penfriends whom I’ve come to cherish over the years. I’m looking forward to building more friendships as we move along this artists’ road.

Tune in tomorrow to see the contents of my surprise LYA package!

Art Brings Light: Liberate Your Art 2018

It’s time for the Liberate Your Art 2018 (LYA) Blog Hop!

Finally, the moment is here to share the art I received and sent for the LYA swap this year. Some swappers share all along, but I like the anticipation, the suspense leading to the day “all” the art is revealed. Then, I spend the weekend perusing the mini art galleries.

Here are the 2018 LYA stats:

804 pieces of art liberated
134 artists
10 countries
31 US states

I’ve participated in the Kat Sloma’s swap for the past seven years and every year I reunite with “old friends” and meet new ones. For the swap, participants send five postcards to Kat who mixes things up and sends the postcards–adding her own–into the world over a two-week period. After all the postcards have been swapped, sent, and received, we have a swap party–blog hop–which started today and ends Sunday.

The theme of this year’s blog hop is “Art Brings Light to the World.” That feels appropriate because there is light and beauty in each of the postcards I received.

I received six pieces of art and liberated five pieces.

“Yellow Woman,” Art by Jan

This was the first postcard I received. I don’t know enough about art techniques to guess, but I’ll guess anyway. 😀 Do I see evidence of stamps, stencils, or collage as well as paint and pen?

Although the artist did not sign her name, she left a strong statement–“Desire Art”–or is it the name of her studio?

“Child’s Play,” by Kathy Mc

Kathy and I had decided to side-swap before Kat started sending the postcards, so imagine my surprise when her postcard was the second one I received.  She altered a magazine image with acrylic, oil pastels, monoprint, and stamping.  It looks like children playing with bubbles!  You can find more of Kathy’s art at Sol Sister Studio on Facebook.

“The Holiest Mountain”

From Ireland, another pleasant surprise–a postcard from JMIrishArt, my Instagram/blogging friend, whom I met via LYA.  The postcard features her digital art print of Croagh Patrick, Westport, Mayo, Ireland. JMIrishArt works with various media. You can find out more about her and her art on her website: JMIRISHART.

A Streetcar Named St. Charles from Kris McNeil

Needless to say, it was heart warming to receive this snapshot from home, New Orleans. This shot made me long for a nice long ride down St. Charles on the street car. We’ll have to remember to take a ride the next time we’re in New Orleans.

Kris, who lives in Houston, Texas, has an amazing photography blog right here on WordPress. Be sure to check out her blog or any of the other places to find her:

From “sunny  Florida”–a colorful manipulated photo:

“Vertical Landscape,” by Annie

According to her note, Annie typically photographs landscapes, flowers, sunrises, and sunsets. Lately, she’s been exploring more abstract work, focusing on shapes, shadows, and the unexpected.  She details how she created this piece:

This piece is from a sunset photo where a corner of a building also caught my eye. It was cropped, rotated, duplicated and transformed with several phone apps.

And finally, Kat’s piece:

“Anomalous” by Kat Sloma

As usual, Kat’s art closes out the swap. No matter how beautiful, soulful, or provocative her postcard is, we greet it with a bit of sadness. It means the swap is over and we have to wait a whole year to celebrate again.

I am intrigued by the boldness of this piece, and when I flip the card over to see what Kat stamped on the back, I find that the message reflects the image:

Indeed.

And thank you, Kat, for your work and heart. You’ve not only helped many of us find the courage to share our art but you have connected us to each other and created a community of beauty, light, and heart.

Here’s my liberated art:

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I shot all the photos between April 2017 and February 2018. They all have stories that I’ll share some other time, perhaps. One was featured on the blog last year, and one was shared widely for “Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day 2018.” Can you guess which? 😉 I have a few extras of each, so if you’re interested in “side-swapping,” let me know in the comments or via email (use the contact form on my “About Me” page).

One more thing–you must check out the LYA 2018 video with a sampling of the art submitted. [I’m not in it because I didn’t have a bit of mental energy to think about which photo to send. Eek!]

If you want to see more, click the link below and jump into the blog hop (scroll to the bottom of the post). While you’re there, sign up for next year! You know you want to.

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!

One More!

What, Chandra Lynn?  A blog post two days in a row?!  Unheard of! Well, here’s the deal. We checked our P.O. Box for the first time in two or three weeks and there was a postcard waiting for me–

"Lavender," by Laurie, Silverbird Photography

“Lavender,” by Laurie, Silverbird Photography

The last of my Liberate Your Art 2014 “extra” swap postcards!  This one’s from Laurie of Silverbird Photography.  Pretty, pretty lavender.  Something about the marriage of purple and green is so appealing to me!  I met Laurie through WordPress. She left a heartfelt message shortly after my sister’s passing.  I am ever grateful for people like her who reach out and deeply touch the lives of others without realizing it.

You must check out Laurie’s blog, Shooting Glass in the Garden. She truly creates “color poems” as her site address declares: colorpoems.wordpress.com.

More Art Liberated

A few of us had extra postcards from the Liberate Your Art swap and we were all too happy to share our extras and keep the party going a little longer.  But, before I share the newest art that came in, here’s the collage Kat Sloma designed in honor of Liberate Your Art 2014.  She created it using several of the postcards that were liberated this year through her swap.

"Liberate Your Heart," Kat Sloma, 2014

“Liberate Your Heart,” Kat Sloma, 2014

These posters were sold for a short stint during the LYA 2014 blog hop.  There’s a great deal of truth in the words “When you liberate your art, you liberate your heart.” I usually feel a little more “free” after I’ve released a little part of my creative self into the world–a little anxious, but free.

Kat jotted a quick “thank you” on the back of the postcard she mailed to participants of LYA 2011, the very first LYA. I didn’t find out about LYA until the first swap was over, but now, I have all of Kat’s LYA postcards, so that sort of makes up for my missing #1.

"Vespa," by Kat Sloma, Liberate Your Art 2011

“Vespa,” by Kat Sloma, Liberate Your Art 2011

The first “extra” postcard I received came from Pat.  “Hooray for art” is typeset on the back of her card.

"Seagulls" by Patricia Lyon Surrey

“Seagulls on a River” by Patricia Lyon Surrey

Pat shot this photo in Vermont, where she has lived for almost 40 years, then “enhanced it in PhotoShop.” You can see more of Pat’s work on her site.

Then, I received this lovely watercolor postcard from Sheila.  She sent hers in an envelope with a nice, long note (the note, in my opinion, is the point of happy mail anyway). 😀

Sheila

“Hydrangeas” by Sheila Delgado

Sheila makes beautiful postcards.  Of course, I’m happy this one is purple, my favorite color! You can find more art on her site, and if you’re interested, you can purchase her watercolor postcards at Sheila’s Corner on Zazzle.

Finally, Janice shared her vintage camera photo.

LYA Bonus and NPCW Received 2014-4

“Vintage Camera,” by Janice Darby

Janice ran out of postcards from this year’s swap, so she sent a postcard from LYA 2013.  Lucky me!  I “heart” photos of vintage cameras and I’d been coveting a journal by San Francisco-based artist/ illustrator Lisa Congdon with designs (quote and vintage camera) in this style, so this one really made me squeal with delight.  Janice wrote a quote about “mail” on the back of the postcard, which made it extra special:

“And none can hear the postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart.  For who can bear to feel himself forgotten.”

And while we’re on the subject of art, I received this beautiful handmade postcard from swap-bot BeckyG56 for a “May Flowers” swap.  I’d recently taken a photo walk around campus to capture the tulips.  I wasn’t pleased with the tulip photos, so this postcard came just in time!

LYA Bonus and NPCW Received 2014-1

“May Flowers” by Becky

Becky made this collaged postcard with images from calendar pages.  Isn’t it bright and cheerful?

That’s it for now.  If you missed the original Liberate Your Art 2014 post, you can check it out here.

National Postcard Week!

Did you know that May 5-11, 2013  is National Postcard Week (NPCW)? I just learned about NPCW last year, but so far, I haven’t been able to participate fully.  It comes at such a “bad” time for college profs.  We’re typically in the throes of finals and grading, so anything extra–no matter how much pleasure it brings–just adds to the stress.  If you want to find out more about NPCW, check out Demaris Swint’s “History.”  Demaris organized a swap on swap-bot and I joined because I “heart” postcards and I figured I can handle two partners.  I’m going to get started early next year.  It would be great to send and receive 100 postcards. Here are the two postcards I designed.

Horseshoe & Nails, Ferguson, North Carolina, 2012

Horseshoe & Nails, Ferguson, North Carolina, 2012

There's a black and white version of these flowers in the previous post.

There’s a black and white version of these flowers in the previous post

Send a postcard this week!

My Art Liberated!

When I wrote about the Liberate Your Art swap hosted by Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio, I neglected to post the “art” I sent out into the world.  The last few months are a blur, but I think I sent four different photographs out into the world.   There was no real process in selecting the photos.  I have FAR too many to make choosing less than a daunting task, so I randomly selected four photos that caught my eye.  I hope you enjoy! And don’t forget to check out Kat’s site. May you be inspired to liberate the artist in you!

Goree Institute

This gorgeous courtyard can be found at Goree Institute on Goree Island in Senegal. I captured a number of images of this courtyard (of Goree Island in general). I was attracted to the colors, architecture and “layout” of the courtyard.

A Solitary Place

I shot this photo in 2005 at the Nature Center in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. The Nature Center closed, and as far as I know has not reopened. It saddens me that this “scene” no longer exists, but the photo itself often brings me a bit of serenity. I imagine myself sitting at the picnic table alone with my thoughts and my journal.

How High

This is our neighbor’s fence in New Orleans–altered in Photoshop. The vines climbing up the fence reminded me of Emily Dickinson’s poem.

“Beloved Wife”

My hubby and I were out and about looking for the perfect “Ides of March” photo for a swap I participated in–on March 15th of course. We ended up at one of the Cities of the Dead in New Orleans where we found many gems. That is where we found this beautiful tribute to a beloved wife. How this man must have cherished his wife!  I altered the photo in PhotoShop.  Perhaps, I’ll post the original one day!

If you missed the “Liberate Your Art” Blog Hop, check it out by clicking the link.