Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Monday Morning...

Hi Everyone!!!

First off I want to thank Susie for so graciously letting me come over and visit with y'all!

My name is Lesley Venable and I am a self taught Mixed Media artist who lives in Virginia with my wonderful hubby, Tom (aka Mr. Lesley), and our furry family of 4 (Clancy, Lucy, Cagney & Squirrelene). I was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and moved "North" about 12 years ago so I am a true Southern girl.

I always considered myself a rebel although I must admit that most of the time I was the rebel without a clue.....well that is until I came across the world of Mixed Media. This art form really allowed my artistic side to shine and it allowed my artist the space to color outside the lines. My mom, Ginger Edwards, is a traditional artist who creates beautiful oil painted canvases, watercolors and more. I have always been in awe of her work but the style just wasn't what my brain needed to wrap around creatively so when I "found" Mixed Media I jumped in feet first and never looked back.

I've been teaching Mixed Media art for the last 4 years and have taught at small studios as well as at major art retreats (Art Is, Art & Soul, Artiscape). My art has been published in Somerset Weddings, Somerset Gallery and I have two pieces which will appear in the next issue of Sew Somerset. 2010 has been a busy teaching year with more still to come.

First up I will be teaching at Art Bliss in September at their Inaugural Event. I will be teaching the Altered Coaster Book, the Altered Tags and the Altered Vintage Photo Album (see photos below). This is going to be a wonderful event and I hope that if you are interested in taking Mixed Media or jewelry classes that you will come and join us. The classes look fantastic, the hotel is fabulous, the room rates are absolutely terrific and I promise you will be amazed at the feeling you get being surrounded by other like minded souls. Click on the link below to be magically taken to their site....
Then in October we will be traveling to Connecticut for Art Is You. Where I will be teaching an altered tin class, altered album class and altered cuff class. October in Connecticut is a beautiful time of year and this is an awesome retreat. You can check it out here:
My final "away from home" class will take place in Waxahachie, Texas at the Paper Cowgirl Wicked Tea Party. This is a one day, 4 teacher event which promises to be nothing less than spectacular!!! Check it out here:
So, I am hoping you stuck around long enough for me to show you just who I am and what my art is all about.....
My First Ever Altered Book

I began by altering books....I loved working on the pages and building little niches to place vintage images. Tom had no idea what I was doing and my co-workers, to this day, still look at me like I'm totally out of my head...maybe I am but I'm happy here.

My next steps were into altering tins. It was the happiest day of my life when I learned that you could burn off the paint on the tin instead of having to sand it off. Tins are one of my all time favorite things to work with, little boxes that hold mysteries and secrets.....

Altered Tin With Booklet

The more I created the more I learned about composition, then I had to learn (or try) about shading, layering and drawing the eye across the page or piece. Sometimes my "necessary job" wouldn't let go at the end of the day and I found I was too technical and could see my rebel brain making a break for it. I finally figured out that I had to just let the piece flow like it wanted to and to quit looking for perfection. Art is supposed to be fun and inspiring and (ack!!) I was stomping down my muse with my banker brain. So I started creating with out of the ordinary items.....

Altered Coaster Book - Page Detail

Altered Coaster Book - page layout

Then I began adding other elements that I had never used before like fabrics and sewing...

Altered Vintage Photo Album

And incorporating my love of all types of transfers into my work....

Altered Tag with Transfer

Then I began making books instead of just altering them.....

Altered Book Page - Paper & Fabric

Adding embellishments, although still keeping with my more simplistic collage style...

Altered Tag with Transfer & Embellishment

and I found that I fell in love with Mixed Media all over again and my muse was happy which in turn made me happy.
Thanks again Susie for allowing me to share a bit about myself...hope I wasn't too boring!!!!
Have a wonderfully blessed Monday everyone!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hearts from the sea

For your visual pleasure...
My first newly designed necklace & earring set,
'hearts from the sea'.
I made this set from
abalone hearts, fresh water pearls
& antiqued silver, metal findings.
I used bits & pieces from here.

A few pretties from in here.

And Viola!!!
A creation.
You Likey???
It's gorgeous if I do say so myself.
I adored making it.
{I will be listing it in my etsy shop just in case there's any takers}

Thank you friends, for following me along lifes ever changing journey of exploration, creativity & new challenges to pursue.
I guess I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! :)

Smiles & Hugs Friends,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

inspiration & making jewelry

{1 of my shop's sidewalk displays yesterday, doesn't it just make you want to wander through France?}
Happy Sunday Sweet Friends,
As I sit on my bed this morning surrounded by the new tools of my trade,
I am reminded of the grandness of serendipity!
Because of a post I wrote awhile back about my
I made a brand new friend, Diane Cook of
She had read the post & new instantly we were
kindred spirits.
She contacted me to work on some digital designs for her.
A new logo, some hang tags & 2...2 sided postcards.
Together we created some wonderful designs, but all the while I was smitten with the
beautiful imagery of her jewelry.

The textures & patinas, the color of the stones & the
mix of old & new.
I am amazed & in awe of her creations!

Then as serendipity will have it, I was contacted by
Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio
to work on some digital designs for her upcoming weekend workshops for
taking place this September in the Washington DC area.
She had been referred to me by Miss Diane , so together
we designed the flyer & blog badge for this must go to event.

While visiting Cindy's blog, I am again struck by the beauty & creativity I find in all her amazing designs. These 2 beyond talented women's jewelry sing to my soul so loudly that I began to believe that maybe I was a jewelry designer in another life.

I have always loved to play with vintage buttons & came up with this little line of accessories called 'Button Up' a year or so ago.

Then I started playing with vintage domino's, painting them with alcohol inks & adding sweet little vintage images on them, accented by some pretty beads.

{tutorial at the top of my blog}
Next came my Frayed Fabric Flower Brooches, which are such fun to make, but using only a glue gun to doesn't really feel like I'm making handmade jewelry.

{tutorial at the top of my blog}
Finally, I jumped on the bird nest bandwagon & touched wire for the very 1st time. I twisted it & wrapped it, twirled it & made spiral tendrils. Many of my early nests were literally tossed out, but as I continued to work through my 'wire frustration', I got a little better at it. I got a little more comfortable with manipulating the wire & making it do my bidding.

And all of this fuss leads up to a bracelet I made last week.
My 1st piece of inspired by my amazing muses, jewelry designs made from vintage buttons & vintage religious metals on antiqued brass findings.
What do you think?
I adore it.
My wire wrapping still sucks & I'm in critical need of some classes, but I have a new love in my life & my hubby isn't even jealous. Last night as we sat on the bed watching 'Practical Magic', my new tools & supplies surrounding us both, he picked up my new copy of 'Easy Wire' magazine & while thumbing through it said, "These are nice earrings, why don't you try & make a pair?"
So, thank you to the Gods of Serendipity.
Thank you to the muses who have touched my life.
Thank you to cupid who shot the arrow through my heart for my amazing soulmate.
And thank you my friends for allowing me to share.
Now I just have to ask my muses 1 simple question.
How do you learn to not want to keep everything you make just for you? LOL

Smiles Friends!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

freedom don't come free

{listen too...}
"Let the world go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike,
that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans,

born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace,

unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship,

support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty. This much we pledge and more."

"to those nations who would make themselves our adversary,

we offer not a pledge but a request that both sides begin anew the quest for peace..."

"Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.

Now the trumpet summons us again, not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need, not as a call to battle, though embattled we are,

but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”,

a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

John F Kennedy's Inaugural Address
January 20, 1961

Have a Happy 4th of July my Sweet Friends!

And when the words 'Thank You' don't begin to express my feelings of pride & honor & gratitude towards our American Hero's,
when I am at a loss for words & can find nothing else to say,
I am always mindful that...

'Freedom Don't Come Free'!