Thursday, October 22, 2015


Today is my first day of full retirement! Working two days a week since July I have had a taste of the free life and now I can eat the whole pie! There are many different art media and techniques I want to try on my way to developing my own style and possibly starting to sell some of my art. I still want to work on a technique to incorporate art with poetry because if I don't find a way I might have to re-title this blog--The Artsy Crafter.

Right now I have switched from doing those art journal pages to a new way to journal using quotes I find in magazines and paper doll art.

I'll play around with several ideas for awhile until I land on something I can develop into my own signature and see if poetry can be a part of it.

In the meantime I will take some time to relax and enjoy my new found freedom while making art, sipping tea or wine, sitting and walking in the crisp autumn sunshine, and generally just enjoying myself and creating!

Friday, October 16, 2015


A lot of people I know dislike autumn because it makes them depressed. Everything around them seems to be dying--the flowers wither, the leaves turn brown and fall to the earth leaving naked branches crooked as an old woman's fingers. Bird flee for warmer temperatures in the south and a variety of animals seek refuge and restoration beneath the earth. But much as I hate the winter that follows, to me autumn is a season of joy and renewal.

Maybe it's because most of my life I have either been a student, a teacher or a mom sending her children off to a new and exciting school year, but autumn says new beginnings to me and it is my favorite time of year. It might also have something to do with being born in September so fall is when my own physical life began, but that's too metaphysical for me to ponder amid the flourishes of such brightly colored leaves, clear blue skies, warm sunshine and cool breezes. 

I'm also feeling fresh and ready for new beginnings as I have only 2 more days of work before I am fully retired! I waited years to be retired and have time to write. I have a new poetry collection that just came back from an editor ready for me to dive into. I am also starting a new collection of connected short stories. But writing still seems to sleep on the periphery despite these projects ready and waiting for me.

Art journaling has taken over my creative time, particularly art journal layouts using the supplies and techniques shown on Vicky Papaioannou's youtube tutorials. She is amazing and her layouts, cards and tags sing with joy and color! I have come to love working in moleskine sketchbooks. I like their size and the heavy pages.

I had this idea to do a layout using an owl image and the concept of wisdom. It seemed to fit neatly into the idea of that huge yellow-golden harvest moon that appears this time of year. This was fun to do. Originally I used gelatos for the background but it came out too light. I needed a deeper blue but without going to black. I sprayed the pages with some Dylusions spray ink in dark blue and black and it darkened it but was too dark. I took a roll of paper towels and rolled it over the whole layout and voila it turned out perfectly. One of those happy little mistakes all artists make.

Since I love fall and we are still in the midst of this glorious and colorful season I was prompted to do another layout using this cornucopia image from a cocktail napkin. Since autumn is my time for new beginnings and starting over I saw the cornucopia as a symbol of the abundance that awaits us all if we just open our eyes to the possibilities that surround us.

We took a trip to the wineries yesterday and stopped at a farm stand where I bought apples to make an apple crisp and beets to roast in the oven. I am embracing autumn and hoping to make it linger a while before the snows come!

copyright by Renee Howard Cassese