Saturday, September 16, 2017

AND THEN IRMA SHOWED UP

Irma decided to stop by for a visit and make everyone's life miserable. Bad Irma! Bad Irma!  We were  fortunate to have no house damage but were without power for 3-1/2 days. Thank goodness we had a generator! At least we were able to keep the refrigerator and freezer running. The Keurig allowed us that first cup of joe in the morning to face whatever was coming that day. The Keurig also provided enough hot water to wash up the few dishes/cutlery we were using.  A couple of fans attempted to keep us cooled off. The aftermath was so hot and humid a not hot shower actually felt pretty good.  My studio is a shambles however - all of my own making.  There is a really large picture window in my studio that faces south.  We didn't have storm shutters or anything to board up the windows so I rolled my tall steel shelving unit in front of the wood blinds and pushed my really heavy cutting table in front of that. If the window was to take a hit and break I was hoping to contain the damage a bit.  I know, wishful thinking on my part! If the window had been damaged the wind and rain would have made short work of my studio. But everyone feels the need to do something - however futile - in the face of such destruction!  So that is where my studio is a week later.  Today's effort will be to put the studio back to normal and get back to making art.  I still have paint skins on the work table so there may be more of these in the works.  Here is another one in a square frame.  I am quite liking the quietness of these.  After all the generator noise I can use a bit of quiet!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not?


There are numerous projects on my painting table (and the dining room table too) and all are in various stages of drying.  Not that I was really looking to start something else, I felt the need to take a break and maybe do something totally different from the norm.  There was an epic fail of a painting sitting on the corner of my art table. This was a really expensive cradled panel that I had started for a present and was set aside after an unfortunate transfer process went horribly wrong.  The whole surface really needed a heavy sanding to make it usable again.  Not to worry, just turn the thing around and use the back recess as a deep frame.  Started by painting inside and out with Carbon Black for a good base coat. The edges weren't very tidy so I rooted around in my supplies until I found a jar of  charcoal Terra Cotta Texture (DecoArt) that was still good.  A palette knife applied a lovely textural finish to that raw edge.  Now for some art! I have tons of mat board scraps lying about.  And I have been playing with paint skins, most of which are created on my silicone mat from my base coat applications (works great and keeps my precious palette space cleaner).  Earlier in the week I had smeared some gold gesso across the palette to capture all the little bits and pieces of acrylic paint.  Left overnight to dry and peeled off the pieces the next day.  I used some gloss gel to glue these paint skins to a piece of black mat board to create and set aside to dry.  Once they were dry, I figured out where the best pieces were going to be and decided on 2" x 3" rectangles to cherry pick the best pieces.  Cut these out but the edges needed some kind of finish.  Laid a line of gold gesso on the silicone mat and dipped the edges of the cut sections in just to coat and the mini panels were set aside to dry.  Also cut some tiny squarish bits of the left overs and ended up setting a few of those down into the Terra Cotta Texture.  Once the texture was dry, I rubbed on a bit of Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold (my favorite Golden color) and a bit of Raw Sienna here and there just to give it a "rusty" touch.  From another piece of leftover mat, I cut smaller rectangles to stack up for spacers to float the mini panels off the background about 1/2" and these were glued into place to use as handles during the glazing process.  I also wanted more of a glazed surface to the panels so a layer of Clear Tar Gel (Golden) was applied with a palette knife for a fairly smooth finish (only because it seemed quicker than multiple layers of varnish). The outside of the frame needed a bit of shine so I washed on a thin layer of Renaissance Brown Elegant Finish Metallic Glaze (DecoArt).  Once the Clear Tar Gel is dry, the mini panels were glued into place with Tacky Glue. And we are done!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

70 Days for Vincent - Catching Up

This past week, I went to Daytona Beach to teach for the first time at the Society of Decorative Painters annual convention.  I had a great class of 16 beginning students for Sandy the Seahorse.  All in all, they had a lot of fun! I continued to work on my little art pieces for the Vincent project but wasn't able to get them posted until now.  Here they are!






Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New Art Challenge- 70 Days for Vincent

My friend, Kelly Hoernig, had the opportunity of a lifetime and made an incredible journey to Europe  with a group of artists. Kelly is normally an amazingly prolific artist on a regular day and for her to come back so awestruck and inspired it must have been one incredible trip!  She decided to put forth a challenge based on Vincent Van Gogh's life and work by starting the 70 Days for Vincent art challenge. This is 70 pieces of art in 70 days!!!  So we have started this challenge.  The pieces are small and Kelly has a list of art prompts - one for each day of the challenge.  Even though I do think about art and creating every single day there are days that putting pen, pencil, paint, etc. to a surface just doesn't happen.  This is putting that daily practice into play!

Here are the first two days:  Circle 1/70 and Brush 2/70


Saturday, May 6, 2017

PALATE CLEANSER





After working on such a large project, something quick and simple was just the thing to get back to painting!  I've had several books on painting techniques out of my comfort zone and found an idea I had been wanting to try for some time. Using a masking pen, I laid down some free form lines - arcs, round shapes, zig zags, interrupted lines and such. Made some connecting lines. Kept things simple but tried to vary the shapes created.  Next came the color.  For this exercise I used Golden fluid acrylics.  I thinned a few colors with a bit of water and poured each color  across the surface of the paper.  After this was dry, I went back and did some shape painting with pretty much full strength paint (but thinned the darker colors a bit).  While some areas were still wet, I spritzed on some alcohol from a sprayer I had. Once all this was dried, the masking fluid was peeled off and the painting evaluated.  The color blocks were doing good but more detail was needed.  Out came the color pastels and Inktense color sticks.  Lines and marks were added.  Still needed more detail so out came the white ink with a dip pen. My dip pens have been hanging around from my high school art days and it was really fun to put them to use again!  Lots of lines and marks were created with the white ink.  Once this was accomplished it was time to stop.  The mat color decision was made and cropping the painting left over a nice size scrap that turned into a couple of note cards.  Not bad for a couple of day's work!

Monday, May 1, 2017

THE QUILT THAT KICKED MY BUTT




My darling grandson just turned three and I wanted to do something special for his birthday.  He is getting ready to graduate to the big boy twin bed and the time was right to make him his first (and probably only) twin sized quilt.  Months ago, I found an adorable monster quilt called "Scary Squares" from ShinyHappyWorld and knew it was time to get started making his big quilt.  Now I normally work on smaller quilted projects. Baby quilts aren't too bad and I adore working on art quilt pieces.  This quilt was going to be out of my comfort zone.  It also took an incredible amount of planning!  But it all came together in the end.  I rummaged through my own stash of fabrics first and pulled out what I thought might work. Fortunately, I had quite a few batiks on hand.  I did go back to the store looking for scaly, veiny, monster-ish fabrics though.  I also had some flannel from one of his baby quilts that worked in quite nicely.  There is also fleece and fake fur as well as some denim and hand dyed silk incorporated in here.  I found a really fun monster print in teal and orange that was perfect for the backing fabric.  With that much orange in the background, I introduced the orange on the front as a background color in some of the blocks.  Next came the block planning stages.  I wanted to move my block colors around the quilt so I had to plan for that.  Also, there were multiples of every block and I didn't want to repeat myself.  I ended up putting each block pattern (there are eleven different monsters) in a plastic ziplock and placing the quilt pieces in the bags until I was ready to sew.  There were a lot of appliqué pieces (yes, this whole quilt is nothing but appliqué!!!) that were stitched down (horns, teeth, etc.) that I cut doubles and stitched so they could flap free. And the monster with one big tooth on the lower jaw? That lower jaw is a faced pocket for hiding little surprises.  It took me weeks to get all those heads appliquéd into place!  Once the appliqué was finished the blocks were arranged on the floor and switched around until I was happy with the placement.  I definitely took photos of placement so I could remember what went where!  The blocks were then stitched together into three separate units then sandwiched with batting and backing fabric. Let the quilting commence! I managed a combination of in the ditch quilting around each block with my walking foot, then switched off to free motion quilting around each monster head to give a bit more dimension.  Once all the quilting was done, the sections were trimmed up just a bit then stitched together and the backing fabric hand stitched in place to cover the seams.  Next came the binding and I opted for double folded seam binding and zigzagged it into place.  Lastly, it was finally time to sew on all those button eyes! Knowing this was a quilt that would see some heavy action required stitching those buttons on very securely - and there are lots of eyeballs on this quilt!  While I was working on the quilt, my son wrote a bedtime story using monster characters and we created a story book with pictures of some of the monsters inside, then had it printed with Shutterfly.  Monster sheets completed the present.  I found monster wrapping paper and made a tower of presents for him to unwrap. He was so excited with the paper he kept trying to unwrap the package during his party. And once he saw the quilt he was all over it looking at each and every monster.  Now to get it on a bed! Would I make another one? Probably not, especially in this short of a time frame (and I thought I had plenty of time). I loved seeing his excitement but this thing Kicked My Butt!!!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hydrangea Harmony

Have you ever struggled with a design that just wouldn't cooperate?  I wanted to design something springlike to teach at my local painting chapter for a March workshop.  Hydrangeas are very bright happy colors and I took some photos a couple of years ago when I was gifted a lovely plant for either Easter or Mother's day.  Good Grief!  It took several attempts before I had a design that didn't look like a hot mess and could actually be taught.  Needless to say, this final design looks NOTHING like what I started with and managed to kill.  This particular design should be a lot of fun!  It's hard to tell, but there are several clusters that have been fussy cut and layered with spacers so the flowers have a bit of dimension to them.  There are also some leaves that are fussy cut and can be positioned however each artist wishes.  And the vase is scrapbook paper and can be embellished however they want.  Should be fun!

Monday, January 2, 2017

USE IT UP

Day #2 of my daily art practice.  I wanted to do something creative with my stack of Gelli prints.  If you haven't played with Gelli printing before, making the papers can be an addictive process and you end up with a stack of prints in a hurry.  My goal today was to use some of this paper stash for a piece of art.  I started by cutting out shapes from a Gelli print then glueing them onto a pieces of black construction paper with glue stick. These pieces were then cut out again leaving a thin edge of black showing. I like the slightly wonky line work as the cut edge wasn't precisely the same distance but a bit thick and thin in places. The background is a piece of heavily textured watercolor paper that I used to roll off excess paint from the brayer.  I decided to use this as my background because of the "stem" created from the brayer not overlapping but leaving a narrow channel.  A little bit of line work with a marker to highlight some of the edges and it was good to go!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

SOAR into 2017

2016 is a done deal and we can now focus on a brand new year!  As great as the holidays can be, this is the time I look forward to most. There is something fresh and energizing about the thought of a new year - new beginnings, new adventures, new ART!  Rather than resolutions, I pick a word each year to help guide me along the new year's path.  This year I picked the word SOAR. I want my art and creative life to take wing and lead me to new growth.  I want my art to fly high and far, embracing new destinations.  And that is just for start of the new year! I plan to revisit what this word means to me in the next few weeks.  Where is this new year taking you???

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Two Days and Counting


I know it looks like I skipped a day but I think my count was off by a day.  All the painting is done. Here is one last pendant created from my artwork. This was from a watercolor batik painting I did a few years ago, photographed and printed out very small, then mounted in the bezel and finished with a layer of Ice Resin.  The original painting is quite large - 12" x 36" or thereabouts.

I am finishing up the tagging and otherwise prepping merchandise, getting my inventory list updated and in order, and gathering all the "stuff" required to make a craft show booth. See you on the other side!