Artfest-day one of classes

A good way to start the day: I took Gina Rossi Armfield's "Story Painting with Punch" for my first class at Artfest this year. All the workshops I took dovetailed with a goal I've been trying to realize for the past few years: use the photos that are languishing on my computer hard drive.
First things first: print out the photos on matte paper, and go big. The images overlap, but Gina showed us how to reduce the bulk in certain areas. Which sometimes leads to Happy Accidents (more on that later).
I don't often save old credit cards or gift cards, even though I figured they'd be good for something. "Something" turned out to be pulling heavy body paint across a large area. Try it sometime -- it feels so... transgressive.
One thing that's not so fun: losing track of the directions you've been given while you're watching a demo. Possibly the most important lesson I (re)learned that day was that I really do need to take notes, not just watch. Otherwise I start to forget step #1 while the instructor is demo'ing step #4.  And I get frustrated, which throws off my concentration.

Fortunately, Catherine Witherell's jewelry class downstairs set off the fire alarm. Which forced us all to leave the building -- and forced me to stop and smell the flowers, so to speak...
... and gave my classmate Morag Campbell time for a quick broomstick flight around the building. (I kid, I kid. But she does happen to be a flight attendant in her other life.)
So once we got back into class, I got crackin' with some suggestions from Gina.
I combined a picture of the house where my mother grew up, with elements from the house where I grew up. Very different styles of architecture (think early 20th century Victorian vs. '70s California wood and stucco). But Gina pointed out the diagonal lines were strongest: the rooflines, and the curbside in particular.

As I reduced some of the paper bulk, I had a couple of tears -- one right through the bedroom facing the street.
But it worked. This bedroom may have been the one my much-married grandfather slept in while his second wife slept in another during their divorce proceedings. (My grandmother, the third wife, converted that room into a parlor. Oh yes.)

And right away (how 'bout that?!) I used some of that technique for my anniversary gift to The Husband.
I used a stenciled piece of watercolor paper I prepped in a later class as the background, adding a transfer of a honeymoon photo. I lightly went over some of the stencil lines with Caran d'Ache water-soluble crayons, echoing the window lines I extended to the edge.
Then I added a piece of a quote from the Baal Shem Tov that appears on our ketubah (a Jewish wedding contract):
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.

I fully realize the ironies of an African-American woman, married to a Jewish man, quoting the rabbi who founded Hasidic Judaism. But I'm also aware of the irony of a long-buried divorce surfacing in artwork people in Malaysia could see online. (Hello, my Malaysian reader!) So there's probably quite a bit of spinning in graves going on right now, but art does tend to revel in life's ironies.