Weird Wednesday: An Exploration of Our Quirky World

Sketch: A Study of Abstract Wildlife

We are delighted to welcome you to “Weird Wednesday,” a joint series, partnered with our friends at before the second sleep, that explores the often times quirky side of our world. Today, I’m exploring abstraction and this post will be my last in the exploration series. I enjoyed this adventure and I’m looking forward to exploring new upcoming series coming soon to Layered Pages.

Abstract art is seen as peculiar by many but I can assure you, it makes more sense than you realize. Abstract art is not meant to represent-if you will-an accurate image of the subject. But instead, exploring shapes, colors, form, and marks to create depth, to achieve the implied. I have observed through this medium, that abstraction helps one’s critical thinking and will heighten your sense of appreciation for simplicity and wonders in the world around you.

Sketch: Water’s Edge

The sketch to the left is not finished. I’m constancy referring to my sketches and looking for new details-like movement, lines and shapes. They help give me a new start for my actual art pieces. They are my doodles for inspiration-if you will. This particular sketch is from different landscape paintings that I collage into one piece. My mixed media art gallery shows more of my work inspired from these sketches.

When creating abstract, I am among those who do not do it for the sake of creating art, but to explore the many avenues of expression and where it leads me. Art should tell a story and moreover, the artist’s emotions often show through their creations. What we see, hear, think, feel and touch is channeled through our craft.

Acrylic Painting on Paper: Reflection in the Water

More times than not, I tend to use influences of Impressionism in my art. There are those who look at abstract in a Geometrical form, like in the tradition of Cubists artists such as Picasso and Braque. They depend more on order and calculations. They are creating rhythmic shapes- like music. While I find all that rather intriguing, I’ve noticed my art doesn’t often sway that way. Though ti might one day. Never say never.

Lately, I have been exploring the movement of water, and how objects and nature glide or reflect on the surface. The pictures in my sketch book above and the photos below, show my interest in abstract and gives me inspiration to expand on those ideas.

There is an extraordinary amount of meaning to abstraction, to explore and discuss. If you are not familiar with this style of art or do not have in mind the purpose of the medium, I highly recommend studying for yourself. You will be surprised how this form of expression will open new doors for you. I hope you enjoyed this series and I want to encourage you to explore mixed media art and the value it will bring to your life. -Stephanie

Be sure to check out my Mixed Media Art Gallery and Instagram to see more of my art journey!

Original Artwork by Stephanie Hopkins

(Images are subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins.)

Mini Junk Journal: Part I

How to make pretty journals made out of trash and leftovers.

Welcome to Layered Page and thank you to those who follow my blog. Today is part one of my mini junk journal series where you will discover ways to use recycled materials to make pretty journals without breaking the bank. It is possible to make pretty journals with junk!

I love taking things you would normally throw out and use them for my crafting projects. It is a fun, creative, rewarding and a cheap way to craft. Junk Journals are books made through found objects, and recycled materials. In this five part series, I will be showing various ways I use those materials in my mini journals.

This past Easter we did a lot of baking and I had the opportunity to grab a Pure Vanilla Extract box to up-cycle. Hooray! In the slideshow below, you will see my process of making the journal. I used to newspaper from a packaged I received in the mail. I love when painting companies wrap the paints you order in newspaper or shipping package. Never throw those out. You can use them for all sorts of crafts and art making.

I cut the taps off and used cheap glue to add the newspaper to the outside and inside cover. Often times I use Dollar Tree glue for these projects. No need to use expensive art craft. Then I covered it with a thin layer of paint. You can use paint, white gesso, coffee to stain your cover, markers, crayons and etc…Or just use scrap paper collage. A create source for that is from your junk mail. Recycled fabric is another great material to use for covers. Do what feels right to you. Next, I grabbed some of my leftovers paints AKA painted papers and used that to start making my signatures.The paper with words on it, is from an outdated Webster Dictionary that was headed to the dumpster. Be sure to know the size of the journal to determine the size of your pages. I usually go a little smaller on the pages. Again, do what feels right to you. Some crafters like their pages to stick out. Mix it up and have fun with it. Once I have them organized in the order I want them in my journal, I’m ready to attach them to the spin. I used leftover black cotton thread this time. If you do not have a paper piercing kit, you can use a sharp sewing needle to poke the whole in the spin and to attach the pages.

When attaching the pages, I like to start in the inside middle (see pictures). Don’t feel stressed if you don’t get it perfect. It is a junk journal after all. I like mine to look a bit sloppy. Gives it the homemade look it is suppose to have. The more you practice the better you will get at this step. One the signatures secured, I cover the outside spin with recycled paper or fabric. Then I finish decorating my cover. For ephemera AKA embellishments, I use my leftover scraps/chipboard from this project. The chipboard are the tabs I cut off from the Pure Vanilla Extract box.

This project took me just under an hour to complete. If you are looking for more crafting ideas for your kids, this is it. Please supervise the project due to using scissors and a needle. Another great idea for signatures is to use your children’s school pages or drawings. As a parent, I know those things pile up fast and often times we feel we have no choice to let go of some of them.Why not use bits of them for your journals?

I hope you enjoyed this first part of my new series and if you have any questions about my process, please do not hesitate to ask below in the comment area.

Stephanie Hopkins

What is Your Purpose in Life?

Art by Stephanie Hopkins

While I have been creating a lot of art this past week, I have had a lot on my mind. Okay, who are we kidding here. I always have a lot on my mind! As I have been crafting, I’ve been thinking about the younger generations and how much hopelessness, pain and anger there is out in the world. And what the younger generations are witnessing and experiencing through these trouble times. Like everyone else, I’ve also witnessed the good, the bad and ugly of technology and main-stream media. I’m not going to mince words here, as a society, we are going in the wrong direction in more ways than one. We have been for a while now. That said, take heart. there is a lot of good in this world.

This year I will be in my mid-forties (yikes) and I have seen a lot, heard a lot, experienced a lot, learned a lot and-heck-still have a lot to learn. No one is perfect. No one is blameless. No one knows everything but what we do with what we’ve learned makes all the difference in the world.

If someone were to ask me what advice I would give to people in the age of technology, propaganda and the cancel culture, my words might surprise them..

I read, write, study and create art every chance I get. Through those mediums alone, I’ve come to understand adversity, life circumstances and etc. This is not even mentioning my own life experiences but I don’t need to go into all that to share my advice to the younger generations.

Ask yourself, what is your purpose? What should it be? How can YOU make it happen? What would others say and would you heed their approval? Do you really need approval from complete strangers (like on-line) or from people that barely know you and who don’t encourage or lift you up? Are you just another sheep among the herd? Are you trapped in a soulless, never-ending cycle of anger, blaming, hopelessness, shouting to the masses, or to anyone, endlessly about things-in truth-you’re not really certain about? Like what you see and hear from the news media, strangers on social media, government, the education system, or your circle of friends you hang with. Or even the neighbor next door. All the while, deep down you’re asking yourself, “Where is this getting me?” Nowhere.

Never be a victim of mindset or traumatized by cultural differences. Don’t cancel history, diverse opinions, beliefs, or encourage lawlessness because you don’t like something or have been told you should cancel them. Stop being offended. Educate yourself every single day, read a lot, have meaningful conversations, don’t talk at people but with people and learn how to think objectively AKA be of open mind. That is when you bring honest and real conversation to the table of productivity and healing. The continual silencing, shouting, slandering, negative drama, disorder and lawlessness leads to disregard for society as a whole, a break down in moral conduct and from sustaining a civil life.

Surround yourself with positive people and be a person of faith. Be of strong mind and, my goodness, sheep not and herd not. Be an individual in life decisions, stop seeking others for validation because you ARE a person with a mind. Use it. If you need advice, or are uncertain about the path you’re considering or have chosen, seek God first then those people whose advice is worth receiving.

Resist propaganda and the echo chamber. It is everywhere and right smack front and center in your sphere. Don’t believe everything you see on social media or the news. Think first-don’t assume something is real- before reacting. Get off your phone, Facebook, main-stream media and Netflix. If you’re on your smartphone, watching shows or on social media longer than you sleep, at school or work in a day, you’re on it way too much! It is slowing down your brain power, attention span and your critical thinking is fading away…You’re becoming an indoctrinated zombie. Who wants to live like that? I know I don’t. It isn’t even living for Pete sake. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Stop looking for a hand-out, pick yourself up and leave idleness behind. Work hard. Never stop learning. Never give up. Be creative. Try something new and often. Be a doer with the right tools. Be evolving. Be kind and generous. Be a good listener. Be a good friend. Even if you don’t agree with a person’s opinion, defend their right to say it. Stop expecting people to make you happy. Serve God and others. Live intentionally with purpose in this life. There will always be bumps in the road, but you can do it because you matter.

Peace, I’m out.

Stephanie Hopkins

A New Year of Possibilities

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is ours.” —Alex Morritt

What will you make of the new year?

These are uncertain times we live in due to world wide shut downs, riots, protest, political unrest and the virus. Everyone has stories to tell. Many are the same and many are different. Today is the start of a new year and what we bring to it matters.

I choose to focus on the positive and the valuable lessons I learned about myself with regards to my faith in God, supportive people, art, books, mindfulness and creating good habits. All of these carry over in my daily life no matter the struggles. Your positive endeavors are what gets you through bits and pieces you cannot control. Or better yet, it is something you control because you refuse to give in to the darkness.  

This year at Layered Pages, I will be sharing ideas, thoughts, books, art, motivations, my love of history and many more worthwhile projects. Be inspired, have faith, be positive, seek kindness, and explore. Happy New Year!

-Stephanie Hopkins

Conversing About Novellas

I’ve committed 2021 to be a year of catching up-somewhat-on my back list of books that have been patiently waiting on me. Well, maybe not too patiently. The new year brings new reading goals, habits and a fresh start on many things. This week, I have pondered the idea of adding more novellas to my ever-growing pile of books I want to absorb.

There are various opinions about reading novellas. Some say it is a waste of time and leaves you unsatisfied, but I beg to differ. I admire the writer who takes on the task of weaving a story with fewer words. Often times when having read a six-hundred-page novel, I wanted more. So, there you are. It is not, in truth, about the number of pages but what you make of them and allowing your imagination to explore the what-ifs. -Stephanie Hopkins

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Published May 28th 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future.

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even farther away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with.

Their brave adventures – their pleasures and their difficulties – are hugely involving and truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Published January 1st 1970 by Heinemann (first published 1966)

After years of study in Europe, the young narrator of Season of Migration to the North returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood—the enigmatic Mustafa Sa’eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.

But what is the meaning of Mustafa’s shocking confession? Mustafa disappears without explanation, leaving the young man—whom he has asked to look after his wife—in an unsettled and violent no-man’s-land between Europe and Africa, tradition and innovation, holiness and defilement, and man and woman, from which no one will escape unaltered or unharmed.

Season of Migration to the North is a rich and sensual work of deep honesty and incandescent lyricism. In 2001 it was selected by a panel of Arab writers and critics as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century. 

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano, Euan Cameron (Translation)

Published September 15th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A haunting novel of suspense from the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature

In the stillness of his Paris apartment, Jean Daragane has built a life of total solitude. Then a surprising phone call shatters the silence of an unusually hot September, and the threatening voice on the other end of the line leaves Daragane wary but irresistibly curious. Almost at once, he finds himself entangled with a shady gambler and a beautiful, fragile young woman, who draw Daragane into the mystery of a decades-old murder. The investigation will force him to confront the memory of a trauma he had all but buried.

With So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood Patrick Modiano adds a new chapter to a body of work whose supreme psychological insight and subtle, atmospheric writing have earned him worldwide renown — including the Nobel Prize in Literature. This masterly novel, now translated into twenty languages, penetrates the deepest enigmas of identity and compels us to ask whether we ever know who we truly are.

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

What are some novellas on your to-read list?

2020 Index Card Challenge: Part 15

Index Card Art

I have neglected to post my completed Index Card Art Challenge until now. I was supposed to share the final outcome a few weeks back. I must explain why I haven’t sooner. When your writing muse awakens from a deep slumber, one must bear down the hatches before the moment passes. What a wonderful writing experience it has been and, I believe it will continue for quite sometime. Forming new writing habits has really helped.

I thought of a couple ways to share my journey in this challenge and one of them was to take a picture of all the cards together and talk about each one. That task seemed a bit daunting to me. Not that I don’t enjoy talking about creativity, mind you. We’re talking about a hundred cards and I believe the previous posts and the art shown speaks for itself.

Today I’m sharing the final (days 96-100) cards. I will link the previous posts down below for you to take a look into this worth-while pursuit. This challenge has taught me a lot about my creative side and has built my confidence further with creating smaller pieces of art and blending brighter colors I had not beforehand.

If you are looking for a new craft to pursue, or you want to challenge yourself in creating daily art, this endeavor is for you.

My next art feature will be about creating art on Rolodex Cards! Now that has been a challenge since the cards are a lot smaller than the index cards.

Stephanie Hopkins

Index Card Challenge Links:

Parts I / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 /12 / 13 /

14

Dream Builder

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

You want to create art with paints and all sorts of mediums but you don’t know where to begin or you’re afraid that you’ll mess up? Guess what? You can’t mess up. Create what you love. Below are some tips on how to leave that self-doubt in the dust.

Tips to create:

Don’t think too much about it.
Learn by experimenting.
Don’t pay attention to what others think.
Validation comes from within.
Get messy.
Tear into your paper.
Lose all self-doubt.
Free your mind.
Have fun.
You got this!

Next week I will be talking a little about colors.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020: Part 9

The Index Card Art Challenge 2020 is still going strong! Today I’m sharing part 9 of this challenge which entails day 54-60. Most of the materials I am using for these cards are my painted collage papers I make on a regular basis. I’m also using magazine clippings and images from old books for collage. As well as Tim Holtz and other artists ephemera you can purchase online or at craft stores.  

There are several challenge days you can choose for this challenge and I chose 100 days. Check out Part 8 post in this challenge HERE, where I include more details of this art adventure.

Be sure to follow and check out more of my art at my Instagram!

Stephanie Hopkins

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins

Coffee Shoppe Art

New art piece I made for a local Starbucks in Marietta Georgia! For commission work contact me at layeredpages@yahoo.com

Art by Stephanie Hopkins

Mixed Media Artist and Abstract Painter

Images may be subjected to copyright. In order to use art images or any content on Layered Pages platform, please ask permission from Stephanie Hopkins