"The life so short, the crafts so long to learn."
~Geoffrey Chaucer

Eco-Friendly Mosaic Art by Sandy Schimmel

That old saying, "one man's garbage is another man's treasure" fits Sandy Schimmel's art to a tee. Her mosaic art is a beautiful and ingenious combination of painting along with junk mail or greeting cards or scrap paper. All the materials normally dumped into our trash without a second thought. Her artwork is colorful, energetic, ethereal, and eco-friendly to the core.

The three things Sandy can't live without (besides her art supplies):
  1. Her husband. "He gave me the courage to quit my job and become a full-time, stay-at-home professional artist. He supports our family so I am free to create 24/7. He comes to every opening, every show, is my biggest supporter and cheerleader - and he puts up with all my emotions - which range from agony to ectasy! Oh, and he's my absolute ideal man!"

  2. Her studio. "A place where I can shut the door, listen to the radio, books or tape or music...make a mess, make art, make decisions, and leave the world behind for those hours. I think it is absolutely imperative for an artist to have a space that is theirs alone."

  3. The library. "When I am stuck, all I need is a stroll through a few stacks to find a zillion sources for inspiration... travel, history, fashion, other art forms, other artists, decor, etc."

Click HERE to visit Sandy's website. And, HERE to read more about the artist.

Collage Art by Leslie Avon Miller

Collage artist, Leslie Avon Miller, creates artwork that fills you with a sense of tranquility. Her work combines earthy colors, simplicity, style, and multi-layered textures. She and her husband, along with their three cats, live in the Pacific Northwest, between the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with a view of a wild ravine full of animals and bird life right out their door. "I explore – colors, shapes, textures, process, and new ideas. I glue down, cover with paint, remove paint and expose part of what is underneath. I love having the ability to seek out interesting papers and to move them around to find a composition that pleases my eye. Expressing meaning became important as I began to work more. Now I create a narrative, a mood, and express myself in ways I simply can’t with only words. Although I also love words, and often include them in my work."

What inspires Leslie: "I am inspired by life. I am so grateful to be here, on this beautiful planet and in this time. I love people, animals and birds, and nature. I love to see the interesting effects of time on a wall, billboards, and architecture. I love history and archeology and learning. I have seen ancient art carved into rocks eons ago. That speaks to me as well. And most of all I feel it is our obligation and gift to learn to speak in our own authentic creative voice. We create value and space for others to do so when we do learn to express ourselves. If I am frustrated it is by wanting even more time to create….I want a self cleaning house!"

How she handles creative blocks: "I am unable to really work well if I am tired, or I haven’t nourished my body or soul. Occasionally a life situation will arise that takes me off course. I try to work my way back to my creative expression gently. I might look at images, nature, calligraphy, and work of artists I enjoy. I read poetry or a good story. I talk things over with a trusted friend. I also give myself permission to be, just be, with what ever is present at the moment. That can take some reminding to me, but it is worth the effort. I also make a decision to enter my creative space. I have no goal when I do. I simply expect myself to pick up my tools, sort my papers, tidy up, and reconnect with my materials and space. It almost always results in some sort of creative effort. It doesn’t take much if I am rested to get going again." Visit Leslie's blog to see more of her artwork HERE.

Images used with permission from Leslie Avon Miller.

Torn Paper And Mixed Media Collages by Julie King

Over the years, Julie King has woven baskets, made hand-sewn soft dolls, and dabbled in painting. But she always longed to be an established artist. "I was lucky to have worked in a support position to a wonderful group of graphic designers for several years. This fueled my desire to be an artist even more." After seeing an article about torn paper collages in February of 2007, Julie thought "Hmmm, I may just try that. And, my true artistic self was born. I am completely self-taught and learn something new with each and every piece I do. I'm all about experimenting." She makes hand made collages from torn bits of paper, and sells note cards and prints from her original works. She also creates custom designs.

"My technique varies depending on the piece. Sometimes I use torn paper only with very little acrylic paint and other pieces have a great deal of acrylic paint with only a bit of torn paper. I use a big variety of scrapbook papers, vintage papers, tissue papers, some handmade or hand painted papers to make the actual design. I also use rubber stamps, shiva paint sticks, india inks, glitter, gel pens, pastel chalks and a good deal of other substrates to create patterns and textures both on the backgrounds and for the actual design. Words are added via rubber stamps or on my mac. A clear top coat is used to seal the collage. My notecards are made with small prints from my Epson R1900 printer. I attach the small prints to pre-bought notecards."

Julie lives in Dayton, Ohio, and is married to a "wonderfully supportive man." She has two grown children, two grown step-children, and three grandchildren who are the light of her life. Her other love is Presley, her 16 year old miniature schnauzer. She pulls a great deal of inspiration from nature and random thoughts. "I enjoy writing poetry and sometimes will just sit and jot down words that eventually become an art piece. Blogging has really spurred my creativity both by writing and sharing with other like-minded artists and also learning so much from others." She is also an amateur photographer who carries her camera everywhere she goes. Visit her blog to see additional artwork HERE. And, her Etsy site HERE.

Images used with permission from Julie King.

Whimsical Creations and Rubber Art Stamps by Sandra Evertson

Sandra Evertson has the wonderful ability to create magic through her images and words. She reveals on her blog: "There was a single specific moment in time when it struck me, " I just might be an artist!" And I must admit it was quite a relief. This explains everything, it all makes perfect sense now! Those frantic urges to quickly search out paper and pen, a lack of attention for the ordinary and mundane but endless patience and diligence for anything frivolous or whimsical!"

"Then there are those impulses bordering on near obsession with all things quirky and impractical. As my squirreled away misfit collections of the odd and interesting grew so did the desire to create, the two traveled happily hand in hand. I have always admired my sisters beautiful singing voice, although I try, I can't sing a note. I do however sing through my art!" Sandra is a contributor to Where Women Create, Somerset Life, Romantic Homes and Somerset Studio magazines, and creates a line of rubber art stamps from her collaged images. She has also written several books.

In one blog posting, Sandra admits, "All of my life, I have never quite fit in, always felt out of place, odd man out, you know? Some times over exuberance, adventurous curiosity and creativity can cause others to misunderstand and even shun you.." I think many creative types feel this way, and it is often the art that saves us. We follow our souls calling, and in that act we can become whole. And, Sandra has a beautiful soul. She must have. You can see it in her creations, and on her blog. See for yourself HERE.

Images used with permission from Sandra Evertson.