“Storm Clouds”

Hello to all! Hope you’re having an awesome week!

Today I’m happy to share one of my recent¬†journal pages, which is featured in my friend Kim Rae Nugent’s newest book, Journal Starters: Nature Backgrounds, Textures, & Collaborations.

This page is called “Storm Clouds,” and was created earlier this year in response to a highly negative and stressful situation at work. I really don’t know a kinder, gentler way to describe what was going on, except to say that the proverbial sh** was about to hit the fan, and there was no way to hide or escape from it. I knew I had no choice but to take a stand for what was right, and it tied me up in knots for a long time. Thankfully, asserting myself gave me the confidence to fight for the opportunity to leave the chaos, and today the future looks significantly brighter.

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This page was created with vintage book pages, patterned paper, gesso, acrylic paint, stamped punchinella and bubble wrap, rub-ons, stickers, found poetry, a date stamp, pigment ink, pens, and an image from the Journal Starters book.

Kim’s book is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my work with you! It is indeed one of my most favorite and enjoyable parts of being an artist!

Have a wonderful week! ūüôā

 

 

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Recent Publications!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope you all had a marvelous 4th of July!

I spent much of the holiday weekend in my studio, working hard to meet some upcoming publication deadlines.

I’ve been fortunate to have some of my work published this summer, including an artist’s book called Die Geister (The Ghosts) that I created back in 2014 after a study-abroad trip to Berlin, Germany. The journal, which appears in the Summer 2016 issue of Somerset Studio Gallery magazine, is now available on news stands and at¬†Stampington & Company‘s website right now!

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In addition,¬†<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/jenny.petricek?_fb_noscript=1″ />¬†my¬†friend and fellow artist Kim Rae Nugent’s latest book, Journal Starters: Nature Backgrounds, Textures, & Collaborations¬†also just became available for purchase! This book features amazing photography and thought-provoking prompts to inspire one’s art journaling practice, and I’m honored to be one of the contributing artists. Eight of my pages are featured in the book, and I look forward to sharing some of them here very soon! To purchase the book, please visit¬†Amazon.com!

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Have a wonderful rest of the week! See you soon!

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“Rediscover Your Heart”

This is a page that I completed yesterday in my art journal, and it’s called, “Rediscover Your Heart.”

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For me, 2016 has been a year of reclaiming my health, one small improvement at a time. This summer, I’ve set a goal of losing ten pounds and have established a daily exercise regimen, which unfortunately isn’t something to which I’ve been greatly committed in the past few years.

Back in 2010-11, during a period of great anxiety and uncertainty, I gained 60 pounds after being prescribed the antidepressant Prozac. The excess weight took a major toll on my small frame, and strenuous activities such as running (which I’ve loved my whole life) put a lot of stress on the joints in my legs and became exceedingly difficult and painful. In addition, the extra pounds caused me to experience more issues with my asthma. Consequently, I pretty much stopped exercising and my fitness level suffered greatly.¬†In 2014, when I stopped taking the medication, I quickly lost 40 pounds, but up to this point have been unable to drop the last 20. While I don’t feel terrible about my current weight, I know I could still stand to lose a few pounds. I also know I could and should¬†get back into some semblance of good physical shape, because I’ve always been healthier and happier when I’ve been active.¬†Exercise is beneficial for one’s lungs and heart, and that’s of the utmost importance as I get older, especially with my family history of cardiovascular disease.¬†

I started running again a few weeks ago, and even though I struggle with some old injuries from my days as a high school and¬†college tennis player, it’s been going well. To prevent pain in my hip joints caused by frayed cartilage, I wear compression stockings and shorts and run only short distances; I augment my runs with low-impact biking and swimming. I can feel my strength and stamina growing, and my breathing is getting better. I’ve even lost a couple of pounds already!

This page, which celebrates my rediscovery of my love of exercise and the importance of being heart-healthy (both physically and emotionally), was built upon a collage of old book pages, paper napkins, ephemera, and Washi tape, and also includes spray inks & stencils, pigment inks & stamps, tape, stickers, die cuts, and pens.

What is a goal you can set for yourself this summer, to improve your health? Take one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, and you can make it happen!

Have a great week! ūüôā

 

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“Don’t You Forget”

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!

Yesterday I completed the second page in my new art journal, which is entitled, “Don’t You Forget.”

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The page was inspired by some free-association writing that I’d completed on the paper prior to creating art on it. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately; it allows me to get some thoughts off my chest and at the same time provides a nice underlayer of texture that can peek through subsequent layers of paint.

The page was created with various collaged papers, Washi tape, acrylic paint, spray inks, stencils, pigment ink, rubber stamps, bubble wrap, India ink, alcohol ink, stickers, found text, pens, a cutout from a magazine ad, and a portion of a vintage photograph.

I’ve never been an individual enthusiastic about change, especially when it comes to my family relationships and friendships. Unfortunately, change is the one constant in life. People undergo change as they pass through life, and sometimes when we love and care deeply for them, it’s very difficult to understand and to accept that things are not as they used to be. What we thought we knew and what we fervently believed to be true about them can suddenly turn out to be very different in reality, and we are caught off-guard. Consequently, a valued relationship may be altered in a manner in which we never anticipated, in a positive or negative way–or may simply fade.

Somehow, the uncomfortable, almost shocked look in the woman’s eyes seemed ideal for this page, as did the pocket watch, which was clipped from a magazine and represents the element of time, a powerful change agent in all of our lives.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that you are able to enjoy it with people you love!

 

 

 

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“Baggage”

Happy Thursday to all!

I’ve been on summer break for a week, and slowly but surely I’ve returned to the studio. It feels wonderful to be back, and to have long, uninterrupted stretches of time in which to create again.

Today I began working in a new art journal, and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost for a couple of hours in the process of finishing its first page. It’s called “Baggage,” and it started with a free-association writing activity in which I reflected on some issues and emotions that I’ve been hauling around with me, which have been weighing me down for quite awhile. I first jotted down some musings on the blank page, and then proceeded to cover it with colorful layers of collage, paint, and ink.

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I think each and every one of us has “stuff” in our lives that we hold on to and are prone to carry with us from place to place, even though we understand it probably isn’t in our best interest to continue doing so. This “stuff” may even get in the way of us moving forward in our lives. We know we should let it go–but of course, this is always much easier said than done. The “baggage” consists of the remnants and residue of our past experiences, good and bad–and it’s been with us so long, that we feel it’s indeed part of who we are. The memories, marks, and scars attached to our “baggage” may never completely disappear–but sometimes we can change how we perceive them. I definitely could change the way I look at certain circumstances of the past–but admittedly it’s really hard and slow work. This page is about that struggle within.

This page was created with collaged paper, acrylic paint, spray inks, stencils, dye and pigment inks, rubber stamps, Washi tape, rub-ons, stickers, a date stamp, pens, and a magazine image.

Can’t wait to start another page–and to share it with you here! Have a great weekend!

 

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More Workshops and Retreats

Happy summer everyone! The school year wrapped up this past Wednesday for me, and now I’m officially on summer break! Couldn’t be happier–or more relaxed! I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into the studio and resuming my art making, which was unfortunately put on the back burner the last few months.

As I’d shared in my last post, I was able to squeeze in a few workshops and retreats during the month of May. I attended Art & Soul for the first time over Memorial Day weekend, and took a great day-long workshop called “Translucent Triptych,” which was led by instructor Caitlyn Dundon. In the class, we created a series of canvas boards with collage papers, translucent Gelli-printed tissue papers, stamps, fluid acrylics, and gel medium image transfers. While I wasn’t able to finish the pieces in Minneapolis, I brought them home to complete. The triptych has found a home on the wall in my house. Here it is:

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Within the last week I also took to my studio to finish a long-awaited assemblage piece I’d begun working on at Crystal Neubauer’s Wax Assemblage workshop back in February. It started out its life as a vintage spice rack, but my plan was to create little collaged vignettes and canvases within each of its shelves. I’d become ill at the end of the first day of the workshop and wasn’t able to attend the second day, and thus the piece had been sitting on a table in a state of limbo in my studio since then. The finished piece is now hanging in the hallway outside the door to my studio:

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I hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start! I plan to begin posting more work as it is completed!

Have a great weekend!!

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Workshops & Retreats

Happy Memorial Day to all of you in the blogosphere! Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful holiday weekend!

It’s been quite a long while since I’ve posted here. It’s spring in Wisconsin, and that means the end of the school year is fast approaching. As a public school teacher, I find that this time of the year is most challenging for me when it comes to my art; it seems that now more than ever, my creativity and productivity end up on the back burner. Some of it has to do with the beautiful weather, which beckons me to the outdoors each day after work, compelling me to forego studio time. Some of it has to do with the overpowering feeling of burnout and fatigue that I suffer as summer break gets closer; there are evenings I just don’t have any fuel left in my tank to do anything but lie on the sofa and rest. It’s impossible to deny that both students and teachers really struggle at this time of year. After nine long, stressful months, everyone is more than ready for a break. The good news is that it won’t be long until June 8 rolls around and I am free. I look forward to recharging my batteries, and to having enough time to fit in all the things that I love, especially art!

Knowing that I’d need extra inspiration in the month of May, I scheduled a few workshops, which helped me to get my creative juices flowing during this time. A couple of weeks ago, I took part in my friend Crystal Neubauer’s Wax and Wire Jewelry Workshop at her studio here in Racine, Wisconsin. We spent a wonderful two days shaping wire into forms and then filling the interior spaces with paper collage, using encaustic wax to bond everything together. Here are some photos of my finished pieces, which are currently hanging in the window of my studio:

The pieces were built with wire, wax-dipped papers, pieces of mica, wax-dipped pieces of lace and cheesecloth, found text, and dangling tiger eye charms.

This weekend I attended Art & Soul in Minneapolis. It was my first time at an Art & Soul event, and I loved every minute of it! One of the workshops I attended was taught by Mindy Lacefield, another of my mixed-media heroes, and in it we made gorgeous bookboard journals. Here are some pics of my journal, which is a work-in-progress that I hope to finish very soon:

At Art & Soul, I also took a class called “Translucent Triptych” with Caitlyn Dundon, and will post pictures of my finished triptych once the varnish dries on each piece.

In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of this weekend. See you soon!

 

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“Choose Balance”

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! After two straight weeks of cold drizzle and snow flurries, it seems spring has finally arrived here in southeastern Wisconsin. I was fortunate to spend much of this afternoon outdoors, a welcome respite after a busy week.

Last night I completed a new page in my “Choose Life” journal. This one’s called, “Choose Balance.”

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Balance is a critical component in my new devotion to wellness. I know I definitely need to strike a better balance between my work, which is often highly stressful, and recreation, which includes reading, exercise, and of course, my art. All too often, I find myself too exhausted after a long day on the job to even think about doing any of these enjoyable things, and I feel that my quality of life suffers as a result. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to handle this perennial conflict. It’s been an oft-discussed topic of conversation with my therapist over the last several months.

Another area in which I’ve been striving to achieve better balance is in regards to my health care choices. Prior to this year, I always sought the advice of an MD, requested a prescription for medication, or bought over-the-counter drugs to address my health concerns. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to try alternative medicine–and have witnessed firsthand the ways in which it actually works–I’m starting to mix and match various options. While I still rely mostly upon my specialists and tried-and-true prescription medications in the treatment of my asthma and interstitial cystitis, I’ve found that essential oils, acupuncture, and massage are much more effective in the prevention and treatment of my chronic headaches and anxiety. While it’s true that sometimes we need to put chemicals into our bodies in order to help them to heal, this isn’t always the best course of action. Sometimes they can do more harm than good, as I’ve learned in the last few months.

The collage on this page was created with old book pages, vintage medical scrips, handmade and patterned papers, a piece of crocheted lace, canvas, linen, mica, corrugated cardboard, text typed on a vintage typewriter, a sewn button, bits of green yarn, and a Taoist Taijitu chart clipped from a 1970s alternative medicine guide.

Here’s to a weekend that’s a wonderful balance of work and play!

 

 

 

 

 

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Somerset Apprentice, Spring 2016

Hello to all! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Recently I received the great honor of being selected as one of the artists to appear in the From the Pros section in the spring 2016 issue of Somerset Apprentice magazine.

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When the editor requested that I be included in the issue, I had to pinch myself because it wasn’t that long ago that I purchased my first issue of this publication, back in spring 2010. At that time I was going through a very difficult period, having just learned I’d be losing my job within a few short months. I hadn’t been able to find a new position, and the stress was leading to a lot of emotional and physical pain.

I’d been a longtime scrapbooker, but during a visit to the local bookstore I encountered the Stampington & Company magazines for the first time, and decided that I wanted to learn how to create mixed-media art. My transition began with Apprentice, which is a wonderful primer designed to teach many of the basic skills. The first project I tried was a complete and utter failure, but I didn’t get discouraged. Over the next six years I kept trying and kept creating–and my life has never been the same. The gift of art is a blessing that I will never take for granted, as it’s taught me that no matter what happens to me in my life, good or bad, I will always have my art and my creativity.

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The spring 2016 issue of Somerset Apprentice is available on newsstands right now, or can be ordered at Stampington.com!

Have a great week!

 

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“Choose Clarity”

Hello all, and happy Friday from Florida! It’s the last day of my vacation, and I’m busily packing my bags and getting ready to begin the long journey home tomorrow morning before dawn. While I’m sorry to be leaving behind the beach and the balmy temperatures, I’m looking forward to getting back to my studio.

Although I spent most of my time this week enjoying the outdoors, I did have some time in the evenings and during intermittent periods of rain to continue working on my “Choose Health” journal. This page is called “Choose Clarity.”

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This page was built with layers of patterned, embossed, and handmade papers as well as old book pages, canvas, mica, fabric trim, sewn buttons, and text typed on an antique typewriter. It contains an interesting focal image of an eye surrounded by a letter “C.” The “C” was actually an ornamented drop cap at the beginning of a chapter on ocular anatomy in a beautiful vintage medical textbook I recently purchased on Etsy.

In the last year, I’ve been making a concerted effort to take better care of my vision. Last summer I visited the optometrist for the first time in five years and was issued a new pair of reading glasses. Prior to that point, I’d been lackadaisical in wearing them, often forgetting to put them on altogether. Because I have lenses of different strengths in each eye, this was definitely not a smart choice. Not wearing the glasses while reading or using the computer contributed to my chronic headaches and made my overall vision worse. Since getting my new pair, I’ve been using them regularly and it’s had a positive impact. I’ve also been more diligent in wearing my UV-protectant prescription sunglasses. This week on vacation, I wore them constantly, even when it wasn’t very sunny. As a lifelong athlete who never wore hats or sunglasses on the tennis court, I realize the sun has probably done considerable damage to my eyes over time–but I’ve decided that from now on, it has to stop.

While this page does draw attention to improvements in my ocular health, the concept of clarity mostly addresses my increased awareness of my overall health and acknowledgement of significant changes that must be made in my daily life to improve it.

Here’s to your good health–and to a great weekend! Enjoy !

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