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BookSmithStudio.com | Nikki Smith Book & Visual Artist

Handmade books and various art explorations

Archive for the ‘Artistic Creations’ Category

Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars…

May 31st, 2013 by Nikki Smith

I love music.  I love how it can sweep me away, create a mood, give me energy and lift my spirits.  More and more, I’m seeing my artwork reflect the music that inspires me to create.  This piece is no exception:

Copyright Nikki Smith, 2013; All Rights Reserved.
Model: Jenna Kellen as photographed by: Marcus Ranum

Can you hear the music?  That’s Frank Sinatra singing:

“Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, darling, kiss me

Fill my heart with song
And let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you

(Lyrics written by Bart Howard in 1954)

In the interest of introducing you to a new musical artist you can’t live without, here is a beautiful cover of this song by musician Daniela Andrade:

And here is a classic performance by Frank Sinatra in 1969, dedicated to the astronauts who had just landed on the moon:

Now, can you hear the music?  Life is full of song and beauty, everywhere you turn.  You just need to listen…

Word Play: Words as Art

February 27th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

This week I’ve been having a blast playing with words and making fine art!  Here are a few of my creations:Men Are From Mars,” as anyone who has ever dated one surely knows.

The backdrop for this quote is the actual surface of Planet Mars, as seen from the Phoenix Mars Lander.  And the below artwork contains a nebula photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope:

We are all made of stardust” – one of my favorite quotes by Carl Sagan.

It is true!  Massive stars burn through a process called nuclear fusion. They fuse hydrogen into helium, and some go on to carbon, then oxygen, then neon, magnesium, sulfur, silicon and so on, up to iron. When massive stars explode they release all these rich elements out into space. So without exploding stars, we would not exist! Even the very iron in your blood comes from stars which have exploded.

For me, though, this quote is about potential.  You are special.  You are the stuff of stars!  What will you acheive when you set your mind to it?

I also enjoyed photographing some interesting signs and discovering “found words” last Friday.  For instance, this:

Led to this, and this:

NITE Word ArtFine Artwork - IT rusty word sign

And this sign struck me as sort of funny-sad with the obvious signs of disrepair and neglect:

24 Hour Surveillance Photography Prints

But by far, my favorite word art is a typography portrait I created of my daughter:

How do words inspire and influence your artwork?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Fabric Postcards! (Plus, a child’s 1st recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies)

January 13th, 2012 by Nikki Smith

These formerly unfinished-objects are UFO’s no more!  I finally finished two of my three-plus fabric postcards for the Cloth Paper Scissors fabric postcard challenge and got them in the mail today.  On time.  Early, even!

Fabric Postcards by Nikki Smith

The top one has one of my “wee planets” printed on white muslin and stitched to this fun, fuzzy fabric from my stash.  It reminds me of a blizzard!  The perfect backdrop for my Wee Winter Hotel planet — wish you were here!

Now this one is one of my favorite methods for binding books – the caterpillar stitch!  I thought it would be fun to do on a fabric postcard, too.  It looks amazing wrapped around the covers and spine of a book.  The fabric is from a pair of pants I bought years ago with absolutely zero intention to ever wear — I knew they’d be part of an art project some day.  I finally found the one!

I love adding dimension to a piece!  This was such a fuzzy green yarn – perfect for this little critter.  The accent beads were added last for extra texture and life.  It was fun to finally up-cycle this fabric into something artsy!  (And honestly, I never fit into those pants anyway…  Now they have a purpose!)

Back of caterpillar stitch fabric postcard by Nikki Smith

I know that only the front of the postcards will be photographed for the magazine, but I had fun creating the backs, too.  Mom taught me an easy blanket stitch (do I have that right?) to hold this one together.  It was decorative, and much better than what I was going to attempt on my sewing machine.  While she finished hand embroidering a few inches quickly on the demo fabric when she was teaching me, it took me all day to do the real thing.  Not that it was that hard for me, but that I could only do it for a minute here and a minute there around chasing kiddos and trying to squeeze some real work in the day, too.   I didn’t want the postcard backs to be blah, so I added a graphic element in the corner from my Wee Downtown Bryan planet and then an unusual or creative use for peanut butter on each postcard.

Why peanut butter?  My mom (a.k.a. Grandma) also taught my little toddler how to make her first cookies this week.  They have three ingredients -one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar and an egg.  A simple recipe that can hold a toddler’s attention without getting too complicated or long.  She loved making cookies with Grandma!  (And they were delicious, too!)

Peanut butter cookie recipe - Child's first cookies

P.S.  If you would like to make these cookies with your little one, here is the recipe:

Child’s First Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 egg

Mix 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 egg together.
Roll dough into one inch balls between your palms.
Pour some more sugar on a plate and then roll each ball in the sugar so it is coated.
Place on cookie sheet two inches apart.
Use the flat side of a fork to press down on each ball in two directions to form a criss-cross pattern and flatten the cookie a bit.
PARENT STEP:  Bake for 7 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool and enjoy!

P.P.S.  Oh, and if you hurry, there’s still time to send in a fabric postcard for the Cloth Paper Scissors reader challenge!  Entries are due in their office by Jan. 20th.  The details of the challenge are here.  Or just make and send one to a friend for fun!  Also, the post office has priority mail envelopes with clear windows in front if you go overboard like I did and aren’t sure if it will survive the postal machinery.  Go on, you know it will be fun to do and your recipient will love it, too!

Artwork published! Cloth Paper Scissors Sept/Oct 2011 magazine

August 31st, 2011 by Nikki Smith

My “Wee Planet” photography and digital artwork of historic downtown Bryan, Texas has been published in the September / October 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!  I just received my copy in the mail this weekend.

The great thing about my Wee Planet series is that any direction can be “up” as the planet is rotated — it’s just a matter of your perspective and what catches your eye or your imagination.  It still surprised me a bit to see that someone’s “up” was my “sideways” when I saw it in print!  😉

I fell in love with wee planets as an art form last year and haven’t looked back since.  You can escape reality and imagine yourself exploring a little planet of your very own!  For this wee planet, I took advantage of waking up *way too early* with a toddler to go to historic downtown at the crack of dawn when the streets were quiet.  I love the old facades of these buildings!

If you would like to learn more about my creative process for Wee Planets, please stay tuned.  I have a “the making of” blog post planned!  UPDATE:  My Wee Planet tutorial is now available!

We each create our own worlds… (Self Portrait)

August 27th, 2011 by Nikki Smith

This Cloth Paper Scissors reader challenge was a journey of self-discovery for me.  I tossed around a dozen different ideas before I realized that the portraits I truly love are those that reflect both the individual and their passions.  Particularly, the artist at work in their medium.  At that point, I knew that my self-portrait needed to include my passion for book arts and wee planet photography.  And me too, of course…somehow.  I chose to include several mini-me figures creating the artwork, because that is how I see myself: creating.  From there, the project took on a life of it’s own!

What began as a tunnel book morphed into more of an open diorama for the feeling of space and light which always lifts my spirits.  With one of my wee planet creations and a panoramic cloudy sky as a stage, I set to work.  Torn paper clouds are layered across the bottom.  One mini-me is painting the sky while another me is wielding scissors (with my eyes closed – well, why not?)


Every cloud has a silver lining – mine is strung with tissue paper birds!  I loved the idea of a mini-me “auditioning” birds for the sky, so my basket is also full of birds and I’m holding one end of the silver thread.

The line of birds is continued on the back of the piece where another mini-me holds a business card with my contact info, and a second card with many of my roles in life: Artist, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Mom, Optimist, Multi-Tasker, Avid Reader, Dreamer, Power-Tool Girl, I’ll Sleep Tomorrow…

I’m not sure what this piece says about me.  Do I have my head in the clouds?  Do I dream big?  Perhaps that I know we each create our own worlds and, despite obstacles and obligations, mine will be filled with art, creativity and a love of life!

Thanks to Flickr users John Benson and Shutter41 for kindly sharing their bird photos copyright-free with a Creative Commons attribution license.  All other photography and images are my own.  Big thanks to my husband Joseph for the great idea of photographing my self-portrait against a backdrop of cotton “clouds.”  The perfect finishing touch!

And for a little more eye candy, check out these fabulous portraits by other artists:

Nicole Caulfield, Self-Portrait with Still Life.  (Colored pencils)

Self Portrait, Nicole Parrish (Above & Below)

Self Portrait, Rachel Hammond

Self Portrait, Marybeth Rothman (encaustic and mixed media painting)

Typography Portrait; Artist? Found on ImageSpark.com

Mixed-media Portrait; Artist? Found Here

Did you enjoy these?  More amazing portraits can be seen at this link. Preview below: