Friday, March 14, 2014

new design team with eileen hull

Shortly after Eileen Hull and I met in 2012 and realized we were almost neighbors, we quickly concocted the lovely idea of teaching several classes together with her fabulous 3-D dies that she designs for Sizzix.  Our first class showcased her Sizzix Pro house die, perfect for making a holiday house or village.  With my first class sample, I had such fun painting and lettering the house that I was totally hooked on using Eileen's magical dies to build things I could use as an alternative canvas.

Today, I'm excited to be a member of Eileen's new Design Team for Sizzix, happily "tasked" with finding more ways to incorporate my style with her new dies.  To introduce ourselves, we designers are sharing some of our previous projects and style approaches.  For me, it's appropriate to start with another class project taught with Eileen using her heart box die.  My class samples included a painted candy box (above) and another deeper box that I built up from the same die and covered like a suitcase with a hinged top (below).  It's pretty amazing to me how much you can manipulate her dies, changing materials and adjusting for many uses.  Oh, and the paper flowers on both boxes were made from an Eileen Hull die called flower layers w/heart petals.

Since I love to doodle and letter (including in my art journals), I'll be looking for more ways to do so on my Design Team projects for Eileen.  Below is a sample from a doodling class I taught at Handmade U in Omaha (next semester is coming up), another sample from my lettering class at French General in LA, and some doodled song lyrics.

More of my doodling efforts are included in Jenny Doh's Craft-a-Doodle book and in Amy Powers' many crafty Inspired Ideas ezines.  

Right now, but hopefully for not much longer, all of my painting and journaling and die-cutting supplies are stacked in teetering piles in my dining room while my new studio is being built.  It will be a dream made real for me to finally have a place to paint and create without stealing time and space, often running out of both.  And what fun to be on Eileen's Design Team to start things rolling, just in time for this long-awaited spring!

You can share your favorite projects and join the monthly "Art with Heart" kickoff challenge hosted by Sizzix Designer Eileen and Design Team coordinator Amy Bowerman.  Just link your blog post to Eileen's site for a chance to win!

Monday, February 24, 2014

studio windows in late february

Yesterday a few friends came over to walk around inside my studio in its current construction phase and to feel the possibilities of the space.  It felt great!

The windows still have their plastic protective coating on all the panes.  But sunlight still streamed in the front Palladian windows, and we opened the doors for a fine breeze and a long view of the forest out the back window wall, all welcome and hopeful signs of how the space will nurture me and my guests.  Sadly, today it is empty again, since none of the expected deliveries arrived and no one came to work.  It's another day of dreaming of what's to come.

If you are interested in being on my mailing list for classes hosted in my studio, 
taught by wonderful guest artists and me, too,
please send me your email address at pj (dot) keravuori (at) mac (dot) com, 
and please stay tuned. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

studio construction update

Just checking in to say there is progress, however slow, on construction of 
my new studio.
Besides battling the intemperate winter weather here,
we've been bearing the brunt of delivery delays all along the line.
Construction has already taken twice as long as predicted,
and we still have a ways to go.
My son is building his latest huge tall commercial building in Boston,
and it seems my small enterprise will take almost as long (only half joking).

But I'm finally able to get a sense of the space and atmosphere
that will soon be a reality.
Now that the scaffolding is removed from all but a short side section,
here's the front wall in the late afternoon wintry sun
after the rainstorm passed through.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

studio window progress

By late this afternoon, most of the studio windows have been delivered, 
just in time for the next snow storm that starts in this area tonight.
Progress, however slow.

In the morning came the skylights in the right number but in the wrong size.  
Because of the continuing cold weather,
the crew was here for the first time this week to install the skylights, 
but since they had to be returned, 
the crew braved the cold to work on the back stairs instead.

After noon came the tall center Palladian window and two sets of French doors 
by pick-up truck.  
Apparently, they were too tall or wide for the main delivery truck.

Finally, late in the afternoon, the main delivery truck lumbered down our driveway 
with the rest of the fun window shapes.  
Unfortunately, two of those Palladian windows are fixed instead of opening, 
so they will also be exchanged.

But in the remaining hours of daylight, 
our crew began installing the center window.
Below you can see the sequence.  

The window snapped into place sort of like a Lego window, 
except that it was very heavy and entailed a lot of hammering to secure.  
One down.

With the heavy snow expected here tonight, 
it may be next week before they can get back to work.  
That's the way it's been going.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

studio construction update

When construction of my new studio finally passed all the county hurdles
just before Thanksgiving
(after more than six months of submitting drawings, electrical plans,
and manufacturers' signature guarantees to meet the newest codes), 
our long driveway soon filled up with piles of lumber, scaffolding, 
work trucks, workmen, tools, stacks of bricks,
and a huge dumpster.
The first step was deconstruction, taking down the roof and attic area 
over our garage and family room.

Then it was a juggling act to enclose the new space
while snow and sleet and icy weather (and the holidays)
allowed only one or two days of work per week over the past two months.
The giant blue tarps covered the emerging structure between work days.

It's been grindingly slow progress, but now with four walls, a roof,
and most of the electrical wiring in place, I can share a few photos with you.

The south-facing front wall went up first, 
with its openings for three large Palladian-style windows.

For weeks, the only entry into the space was by climbing up a ladder
and clambering through the center front window.
The workmen and I followed the same route. :)

Above is a view of the front windows from the inside as the walls and roof came together.

Along one long exterior wall are openings for another Palladian window, 
the French-door entry, and clerestory windows on either side of the chimney.

Across my back work area is a glorious full wall of segmented windows 
facing north, with a center set of French doors
that open onto a narrow balcony overlooking the forest.
The cathedral ceiling will remain raised, exposing the beams.

Unfortunately, no forest view yet, since everything is still covered 
in Tyvek to keep out the visiting arctic snow and rain.

But the workmen are liking the interior view and proudly sharing
their photos as the space takes on its own atmosphere.

Our puppy, Bogie, likes all the attention from the workmen
but doesn't like the scaffolding they built.

The old brick work was removed and new brick is partly in place.
But the below-freezing temperatures of the last two weeks
have temporarily put construction on hold.

Every stage of this project has been a challenge,
with decisions being delayed, altered or upgraded on a regular basis.
Luckily, northern VA is having a relative 'heat wave' this weekend,
and maybe the windows will arrive this week.

But all the frustrating delays will be worth it when,
after some 27 household moves in and out of the country,
I'll have a place of my own design where I can paint
and continue dreaming. :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

wishing you merry!

Baby, it's SUPPOSED TO BE COLD outside!  
Instead, we're having record high temperatures for December 
and lots of rain instead of snow.  
The gigantic blue tarp remains over the structure of my new studio to protect it 
while it waits for periodic sunny weather.  
At least the construction crew are enjoying being home with their families for the holidays.

And I'm wishing you the same,
a very merry and blessed Christmas with those you love!

Don't forget to keep your name on the "nice" list throughout the new year! :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

new stamps by eileen hull with crafitti direct


My creative friend Eileen Hull has been showcasing some exciting news
over on her blog!  
Eileen has teamed up with Crafitti Direct to produce her
new line of clear stamp designs.
In preparation for their introduction at CHA in January, 
Eileen allowed me to take her first 3 stamp sets (shown below) for a test drive.


On my drive home from Eileen's home, I was already happily planning my project, 
a little holiday journal cover that would combine stamps from each of her sets.  
And of course, it would also be in her favorite color scheme.  
Below are the stamps I chose to use:

Since I'm primarily a painter, that's how I approached this project.
The cover and spine are made from 140-lb hot-press Fabriano watercolor paper
painted loosely with acrylics in Eileen's colors as background for
the stamped cover elements.

For the cover elements, I stamped the barn wood, flower wreath and leaf hinges
on smooth Bristol paper, cutting them to the shapes that fit my project.
For the spine, I stamped Eileen's "grill" pattern directly on front and back
of the fold, using black Staz-On ink for all.

The barn wood inset is painted with a light wash of
Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and Yellow Ochre acrylic paints.
For the flower wreath and leaf hinges, I smooshed a layer of grassy green over the
stamped images with a Ranger Adirondack paint dabber (sorry, I couldn't see a paint name).
To paint in the details, I used a small round brush and
the same Golden acrylic paints plus Martha Stewart Beach Glass blue.
I added the impression of white snow on the leaf stripes with a
Sennelier white oil pastel crayon.
For the "real" snow, a line or dab of glue holds the Diamond Dust in place.
A frosty white button sewn to the barn wood cover holds the flower wreath in place.

Now my little holiday travel journal is ready for some watercolor paper signatures.
With the tree branches around my house bending under lots of snow, 
it's just the day for sewing in the pages.
I hope you are enjoying winter wherever you are!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

first snow equals stalled studio construction

This time of year gets especially busy around here, with our anniversary, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and three other close family birthdays in a row.
And now, after 8 months of proofing architectural drawings and
enduring endless county requirements and delays,
we've happily (finally) added construction of my new studio to the list.

So far we've accomplished de-construction, removing the attics and roof above the garage and family room, and then started construction with laying
the 40+foot-long support beams, the 20+foot long floor joists,
and the pressure-treated supports for the back balcony.
It may not sound like much, but it's very exciting to have finally started.

I'm hoping to show you photos as building progresses, although initially they won't be very glamorous. :)  The project is expected to take 3 months, but we've already been stalled by our first snow this season.

I hope you'll stay tuned as my small studio becomes a big reality by this spring.
With large windows and plenty of space, I'll have room again to
make my large-scale paintings and also for holding classes.
Several of my favorite teachers have already agreed to come teach
here in northern Virginia.
If you want to be on my mailing list for future class info,
please let me know your email address.

But first, we have to get through this icy standstill in northern Virginia.