I’m not very good at this. At least when you consider the inspiration from which I was drawing. As the whims of my creative fancy cycle through their seasons, I often find myself drooling over the work of mixed media artists out there. There are so many, but recently I came across Roben-Marie Smith’s colorful blog and artwork and I was enraptured. Well. Sort of. You see, I LOVE the color, the textures, the layering, the whimsy of it all. But when it comes down to all the papers, paints, pens, glue, scissors, brushes, and-did-i-say PAPERS, strewn everywhere and needing to be stored, I get bogged down. I tend to dabble my creative toes into the mixed media realm for very short periods at a time. It shakes things up a bit, provides new ways to think about things, and offers a no-pressure way to be a kid.
I should say, that though I am no Roben-Marie, this is one of my favorite pages of late! The above pic just doesn’t quite get the color right and doesn’t seem too clear. But I hope you can get the gist of it. Perhaps what is enchanting me about the page is not merely the fun magazine cut-out letters, or the layers of torn papers and paint, or the stenciled lace, or the lovely card glued in, or the few drawn lines of yarn and Genevieve sitting and knitting with her cat Lucy near by. It is the story behind the whole page itself, how it came about, and what it represents to me. Here goes:
About a week ago, I started to knit the Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl. Oh my. Just making the Cakes of leftover sock yarn on my new Yarn Ball Winder was almost enough. The cute-as-a-button shape of multi-colors sitting there on my desk was almost too much for me to begin knitting with. I know that sounds silly, but I do become quite silly over things like that. Dear me…. Oh. But I digress.
I am enjoying knitting this shawl as much as I enjoy looking at the Magic Cakes! To see each section of leftover yarn knitted into the shawl is like a page-turning novel where you can’t wait to get to the next chapter! But I started knitting this during some rather dreary days here in North Carolina. Rain upon rain, cloudy skies, dreary darkness seemed to hover over our area for days on end. I do not like days-on-end of dreary weather. Snow would be delightful. But rain and mid-thirty degree weather is just intolerable…it seeps into my head and heart. I plunked down into a chair to knit through the dreariness and an amazing thing happened!
The sun came out as I knitted! I sat there not realizing at first that the room had grown lighter. And then these stripes fell across my lap and knitting! Sunshine streaming in through the studio/sunroom windows! Glorious, delicious sunshine! It felt as if my clicking needles were batons directing a symphony! The glorious notes of sunshine being called out one by one, chasing away the dreary that had nearly taken up residence in my heart.
I Instagrammed the above pic with the words, “When I knit, the Sun comes out!” And I kept thinking about that phrase for days. It’s very true for me. But the page holds even more meaning. In the small stack of saved papers I have on my drawing table, was a card given to me by a sweet friend years ago. We met at the yarn shop where I was teaching. She wanted private lessons to learn to crochet and thus began a lovely friendship I remember with such fondness. Not only did we share a love for knitting and crochet, but we also LOVED all things French.
In fact, she and her husband regularly travelled to France and had at one time lived there for a year or so. She and I relished trying to carry on a lunch-length conversation. I was forever digressing into a mish-moshed franglais! I love this card as it reminds me of her! Her writing in French inside the card makes it the perfect addition to this page.
When I had finished the page, I had a fair amount of acrylic paint leftover. (What is it with leftovers these days?) So I turned the page and swooshed the remaining colors around on another page to serve as the background for something else. Or just to stand on its own. I don’t know. I do love it like it is.
If you have the day off today, perhaps you can browse around Roben-Marie Smith’s website. She has wonderful video tutorials and other inspiring posts. This one here includes links to other mixed media artists you might like to visit. And pull out some “leftover” papers, some glue and scissors and paint. It’s a recipe for fun, I can guarantee!
**Wanna know the stuff I used? Acrylic paints, stiff “oil” brush, any ole scissors, Elmer’s glue, papers saved from old cards and their envelopes, paper plate for palette, Bic pen, pencil to use the eraser end for adding yellow dots to the page (works great!). Oh! And a magazine! (I used an old knitting magazine:) You don’t have to have anything fancy to have an evening of creative fun!