Friday, August 30, 2013

ART 30/30

Can't believe this is Day 30 of the month long challenge - the time just flew by! I managed nearly every day, only missing the day that the internet decided to smack me. The photo above is what is on my painting table right now. Kelly has asked to see our painting tables over in Art Amusement so this photo will get double duty. I dare not show you the rest of the table. It is very scary. Let's just say this is all the room I have to work right now & leave it at that! The letters are about 7" tall and currently have a layer of paint skins. They will be mixed media and I will try to remember to take progression photos. Let's so make some ART folks!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Way You See Me 29/30

This is what I did with part of the paint skins. I used another of Tim Holtz' stamps that reads "you're the one who makes me the way you see me". I love that the frame cuts off part of the letters - makes it look like pattern rather than readable words. The other part that I like is there are a few raggy holes that you can see through. The paint skin is sandwiched between two microscope slides and mounted in a premade frame. Some beads were sewn onto the loop in the corner with hand dyed silk thread and the pendant is hung from thin leather. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not 28/30

There are times when I work a piece of art exclusively from start to finish. And there are times, like now, when I have multiple pieces of art started all at once. This time I started 6 different pieces on the same day!! There is glass, wood basecoated, tags Gelli printed, watercolor background, stamping, and paint skins. Today I want to show you my paint skins. Recently, when I was in Houston for Artist Expo, I found this wonderful new (to me) palette that is non-stick. Since I use a dry palette for some paint applications I thought I would give it a try. It wasn't until I got it home that I realized this would be perfect for Gelli printing! I normally clean my brayer by rolling over a piece of scrapbook paper or other surface with the intention of reusing in other work. I remembered seeing another artist use paint peelings from her work table in some mixed media art a long time ago. If the paint will peel off this palette then I will have my own paint peelings. So I used the new palette to clean my brayer and let it build up over a couple of sessions of Gelli printing. While I was working on some other work the paint was allowed to dry a couple of days so the heavier areas would be totally dry. Using a very thin palette knife I was able to slide under an edge of the dried paint and gently work a large enough area free to peel the paint off the palette. I had enough layers of paint on the palette that it peeled off in very large sections. The green/gold photo was the top of the paint. The red section shows what was underneath. Wait until you see what you do with these!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Happy Dance 27/30

Fresh out of my brand new kiln are 3 new test tiles. An idea I had worked really well and I can't wait to do more! Back to playing with glass...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Internet Issues 26/30

Didn't skip yesterday on purpose! Just had my internet completely hosed. Still not sure it is completely back but we are working on it. Ah, tomorrow is another day...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Patterns 24/30

Sort of played hooky today but still managed to get a little artwork in - took it with me! Working on my zentangle britches and the final reveal will be in the next day or so. We went down toward West Palm Beach with a group of dive friends for the day. They went diving under a bridge looking for seahorses and other stuff while I sat under the bridge in the shade. This photo was taken of the sand under the bridge - I loved the patterns in the sand from the pigeons walking around. And there was just the smallest shell laying there. Today was all about marks and patterns everywhere.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Going Around in Circles 23/30

Lots of stuff going on over here! Preparing for the next few months of events for my local chapter. Preparing for an upcoming local craft show - haven't had a booth there in years! Picked up my new kiln today along with some color & other supplies I needed. Cleaning off the work table to make room for new projects. Lots to do!! The photo is work in progress - I am making some mixed media mirrors for my craft booth. Right now the first couple of layers of Gelli printing are drying. There will be more layers of Gelli printing then some form of stamping or other embellishing before completing the mirror portion. The hot tip of the day - I have the frames stuck to double sided tape to keep all the little parts together and easier to handle. A scrap piece of mat board and double sided carpet tape is the only supplies needed for this little holder. Works like a charm! What kind of stuff is happening in your work space?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

After the Rain 22/30

Snapped this photo when I took the dog out for his morning constitutional. Loved how the water drops from yesterday's rain sat on the leaves and had dropped onto the flower petals. Since this flower wasn't open yesterday, did the moisture collect within the folds only to be revealed this morning as it opened up? And yesterday's finished painting post - it is done! Not finished yet as it needs a frame & varnish but it is done! Doing the happy dance now and on to the next creation. Good times!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are We There Yet? 21/30

Anyone who has ever traveled a long distance with a child can relate to "are we there yet?" And I frequently ask myself that question when creating art. When are you "there" or finished with this creation of work? This question is especially relevant for this painting since there was no specific plan going in - so how can I tell if I am "there" yet? Right now, I am happy with its current state. But I will live with it a day or two and then see what I think. Also, I need to find a frame. Just placing a frame around artwork makes all the difference in the world! While I am waiting, this is what I did that may not be obvious in the photos. The previous progress photo showed the beginnings of the mud lines for the fan. Thought I had enough and brought in my resident expert for his opinion. He was not impressed and said my lines were way too skimpy. We consulted his digital photos until I found one I liked and went back to the canvas. After adding lots & lots of lines it looked more like a sea fan. After this mud layer dried, a layer of thinned Ultra Blue was washed over the entire fan area. As this was drying I took a damp paper towel and began to wipe back the fan. The little knobby bits were wiped back to nearly white creating a sparkly effect that was great! OK - stop NOW!! What isn't really visible in a photograph are some random areas across the canvas that I spritzed on Perfect Pearls Mist in Kiwi. This iridescent mist creates a wonderful shimmer in all the nooks & crannies on the rough surface. Yay! So, am I there yet? Ask me tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dark & Stormy 20/30

Today is the anniversary of a very sad time in my life. My first husband was killed in an auto accident 35 years ago today. It's not something I talk about much. We had way too short a time together. He was a great guy - so full of life and great dreams of wonderful possibility in front of him. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been if we were still together. It would certainly have been a different one than I have had but I am sure art would be a part of it since I heard that calling me from very early on. The journey of life is always a surprise - some good and some bad - but a surprise nevertheless. Meeting him opened up possibilities that I never knew existed in the four short years were were married and, in a way, led me back to California where I met my current husband. Still, this day each year is a bit bittersweet. I didn't realize how dreary this photo was until I loaded it onto the computer terminal but the seahorse looks a bit grumpy - pretty much my mood today. He is drawn onto a pair of capris I am trying to salvage from paint splotches. They are a favorite pair of pants and I would really like to get a bit more wear out of them. He isn't finished yet. There will be lovely zentangle lines in all the open spots soon but I thought he looked kind of cool just as the black outline. He is also the same seahorse from the big painting (I use my patterns repeatedly) and is one of my favorites. So today I will think about lost love & create art.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Playing in the Mud Today 19/30

Since this canvas is a mixed media piece, I decided that another "media" needed to be introduced and that is the reason for the mud run over the weekend. I put the mud in a pastry bag with a really tiny tip* and am "drawing" with it directly onto the canvas. When this is dry, washes of color will be applied to cover the white. Mud is a wonderful product my great friend, Margot Clark, manufactures & sells. It looks and works like texture paste but is not stiff like most acrylic texture pastes. You can do all sorts of things with it that you would regular texture paste but it has an added bonus - it can be kiln fired!! Yep, there are microscopic glass particles suspended in the paste that makes this possible. Margot's company also manufactures glass color for kiln firing and black mud as well. Both will air dry and are compatible with acrylics. Margot is also a very accomplished artist in her own right. She travel teaches all across the globe and has many books & packets on her own website as well as a brush line. You can find Margot at or *The tip is a special tip - regular tips used for cake decorating contain nickel and oxidize with this mud, possibly turning your mud an interesting shade of aqua. Trust me, get the good tip!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Suppertime! 18/30

Bug hunting season is here again! No, we don't eat bugs - at least the land variety. Our bugs are ocean based and very tasty with butter! My hubby, the diver, has been to Jupiter today and has managed to catch his limit of 6. One went to a fellow diver that came up empty handed, another with be part of dinner tonight and the rest will go in the freezer. If you are wondering where the art went, it will be back tomorrow. Just needed a bit of a break! How did you spend your weekend?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What To Do? 17/30

Sorry, no photo today. Had to make a "mud run" yesterday for fresh supplies (will explain that next week at the next reveal). Today is shopping day & laundry day this week. Bye until tomorrow!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Onion or Parfait? It's all in the layers, Shrek! 16/30

Love the Shrek movies - I can watch them over and over! I especially love how Fiona can kick serious butt and donkey is a hoot. It follows the path of other movies/TV shows that challenge our perceptions of "traditional" fairy tale, vampire, monster stories. Sometimes it is good to give traditions a smack upside the head. Makes way for new ideas!
Today's progress is a bit subtle. Glazes, shading and another layer of blue over pretty much the whole canvas. I started with mixing a little Raw Umber and Black into the Ultramarine Blue and deepending the shadows on the tall fronds to help bring the seahorses to the forefront. Love how increasing the contrast always adds depth! The depressions on the seahorse bodies also got another shading of Raw Umber with a touch of Diox Purple added - they needed to set back in as well. Some extra glazing with Ultramarine Blue underneath the seahorses helped push back and tone down the overall background. For the overall blue wash, I wet the entire canvas with a large brush then mixed the first two blues together and, with a lot of water, applied this blue to the top third of the canvas and down both sides. While the paint was still wet, I laid the canvas on the floor and liberally splashed alcohol over the whole wet canvas. When this was pretty close to being dry, the canvas went back up onto the easel to allow any wet spots to run a bit. OK - time to go do something else for awhile & let things dry - OK, we are back! The lower right corner is looking a bit bare. What to do? Since my husband dives and has tons of photos, I knew I could find some inspiration there. Flipped through a couple of his books and found several fans that had potential, so I sketched on some branchy shapes - this is pretty much an underwater tree to start with - and quickly brush sketched them in with some Raw Sienna. An easy way to get natural looking tree shapes is turn the canvas upside down and draw from the base outward. Still need to get another mixed media involved. What next?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Half Way There 15/30

August is half over, which means we have reached the halfway point of the August blog challenge! I must admit, it has sharpened my awareness of day to day living finding something "blogworthy" for a post.
For today's painting progress, the seahorses have dark areas added. In my original watercolor batik painting, the colors were all bright tropical colors - nothing even close to reality. Although I am not going for realistic accuracy in this painting, I do want it a bit less colorful. Hints of color here and there are always helpful since I don't want a blue painting. Just a bit of trivia - as you descend down into the ocean colors are lost with natural light. All those fabulous tropical underwater photos that have loads of color have probably been lit up with a variety of strobes and some very expensive camera equipment!
The dark areas are a wash of Raw Umber. In the outer lighter "ridge" areas a bit of Flesh Tone was added to the Raw Sienne for a slightly lighter value. Random splotchy dots were trailed across the ridge areas. Random washes of transparent color ( I used Hansa Yellow, Indian Yellow, Vermillion, Red Violet & Diox Purple) were then applied over the seahorses and pulled out into the background.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Inch by Inch 14/30

Yesterday's work was about prepping and planning. Today is the execution of all that prep work! In decorative painting, a pattern is traced onto a prepped background or surface and the painting commences. Trying to trace the seahorses on such a rough and colorful background was very challenging. I used both dark and light graphite to be able to see where I was tracing. And there were some really rough areas that I had to just wing it! But that's okay - that will just add to the quirkiness of the finished work (I hope). The basecoating took a bit of time but I am happy with it at the moment. Not too worried about some of the background showing through - that will add to the texture. The little white crosshatching strokes down the middle of the seahorses is the beginning of some lighter highlight layers. And the first layer of shading & highlighting on the fronds is accomplished.
Full canvas view.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Little Progress 13/30

Some days progress is not that evident and today is one of those. When I started the canvas paint was applied loose & juicy. Even the fronds were applied freehand without a lot of planning. Even though I am making design choices as I go, I do have an overall idea of what I want to accomplish versus painting totally free and intuitive. So today was a day for planning & prepping - small movements. The seahorse pattern I am using has many intricate little sections. When I originally created the line drawing for him I made the lines & segments of him very graphic because he was designed for a watercolor batik painting. He turned out so well I knew I would use him again. Fortunately, I kept all my drawings and had a variety of sizes to choose from. And I have placement for the main elements. Lots of tracing ensued. And getting the basecoat for these areas applied. Won't bore you with the details of that! What I do have to share is that drawing on the tracing paper from a couple of days ago. He is now permanently attached! Some days are baby steps...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Step Two Progress 12/30

The next step was to thin some Ultramarine Blue (DecoArt Traditions) and start at the other end of the canvas, dripping & slapping on some paint, spraying with water to diffuse and create even more runs, then spatter on some alcohol for even more holes. Once this dried, I decided to pull in the big easel. This canvas is quite a bit bigger than I usually work! I took some Raw Umber (DA Traditions) and based in a few long undulating frond shapes, then drew in some lines of Raw Sienna (DA Traditions) to get some veiny texture started.
Here is a photo of the canvas sitting on the easel so you can see how large this is - canvas is 24" x 48" - probably one of the largest I have ever worked on!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue 11/30

Several years ago, I designed a watercolor batik packet for Sandy the Seahorse (see 8/6/10 post for the original painting). The design was rather large but very graphic and lent itself to a number of uses. I even scaled the finished painting down on the computer and made jewelry! While cleaning out the studio, I found a rather large canvas that needed some resurection. It had a burnt orange base coat with some texture paste flourishes and other papers glued on. So not working for what I had in mind, nor am I really sure what this will look like but come along and I will post my daily progress. This is where I am at right now. Out came the gesso and the canvas had a nice bath of white. The flourishes wouldn't work with what I had in mind so I used some DecoArt Texture Thick and scraped it over the canvas, covering most of the flourishes and adding a bit of sandy/pebbly surface interest. OK - better! Once that was dry, I thinned some (Sea Breeze DecoArt Americana)and proceeded to dribble, splash & smear color onto the canvas and letting it run the full length. Still kind of blah so out came some rubbing alcohol and I dripped & spattered all over the wet canvas. Lots of lovely bubble shapes - yay! Since I want to use my seahorse again, I traced him onto dressmaker tissue using a black Pigma Micron pen with a brush tip, trying to keep the strokes loose & sketchy & random looking. He isn't glued down yet as there is lots more color to go on the canvas still, but I am liking what I have so far!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tools of the Trade 10/30

It is time to get back to the Gelli plate! Now that my tables have been unearthed there is room to spread out and make a lovely Gelli mess with paint and textures! It is fun and very freeing to slap on some color, play in it a bit and repeately pull layers of artwork. Paper isn't my only surface either - I love those cradled artist panels. They are rigid enough to press down into the Gelli plate and pull really wonderful images. Even boxes make a great surface for Gelli printing. Here are some of my print makers - a variety of commercial stencils, needlepoint canvas circle, plastic lace placemat, shelf liner, bubble wrap, paper scrapbook cutouts. The "low tech" tools such as bubble wrap and other found materials sometimes make the best textures. And searching for new textures to use is an ongoing adventure. You never know what you will find wherever you go! What unusual tool do you use in making art?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Yes, I would rather be in my studio! 9/30

Part of the studio cleaning has been a bit of sorting/discarding of books. This little stack is shelved by size rather than category as most of my other books are organized. It wasn't until I took the photo that the STUDIO book jumped out at me. Slowly it comes together.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Time ? 8/30

"When was the last time you did something for the very first time?" Loved this sentiment! Another one of my new Tim Holtz stamps inspired this page. There were a couple of "firsts" on this page. I drew the rose from my Secondhand Rosie pattern packet onto tissue from an old sewing pattern using a brush tipped Pigma pen in brown. I also used the Tim Holtz masks with Decorating Chalks for a very subtle pattern. Let's see if I can show some of my steps for this journal page.
The page had the background started (companion background to yesterday's journal page). TH masks were placed on page and various pinks & brown layers of chalk applied. Once chalk was finished, the masks were removed and a light spray of Fixative applied to set the chalk.
Next layer is embellishment. The Paris embellishment is a stamped image over a Gelli print, various dye cut tags & elements, a piece of tulle with an embossed image, a silk yoyo over a small crocheted flower. There are 3 small freehanging tags from K & Co.
The main stamp was applied early on for positioning but some dragonflies were needed (of course!) and the tissue paper was glued to the upper right corner. Dated & done!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Course Change 7/30

This was supposed to be a different post today but I have finished cleaning the studio to a point that the table top finally reappeared! To celebrate it was time to do a little playing in the journal. Now that supplies are relatively neat it was time to break open some glue! And there were new stamps to get dirty! Woo hoo!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Art Flux 6/30

My art life is in flux at the moment. Since the fire, I simply don't want to create art for the same reasons - or even the same type of art. Therefore, I find myself spending lots of time "arting" (for lack of a better word). I am painting/silk dyeing/sewing/quilting/Gelli plating/journaling/glass fusing/drawing/mixed media/photographing/embellishing/etc. I looked up the word flux in the dictionary and among the definitions were "constant change, strength of field in a particular area, quantitiy of movement, and my favorite - make or become fluid. I certainly like that last one - art should be fluid!

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Little Slavedriver 5/30

Alas, I am not neat and tidy when I am creating! My sewing tends to be a bit neater and I tend to clean up after each project. The mixed media supplies seem to take over every available surface and stay out for some reason. Add to that packing up & traveling to Texas to teach has turned the studio into one giant pile of hot mess!! Cleaning out the studio requires pulling stuff totally out of the room to reorganize. Right now I am using my dining room as a staging area for all this stuff. One big deterrent to all this moving about is it has interrupted the dog's schedule. Yes, you read this correctly - I am imposing upon the dog! His bed lies under the dining room window. It is sunny in the afternoon and he can lie there and look out on the world passing by. Even though he could pass by on the other side of the dining room table, he refuses to enter the room because there are boxes sitting in the doorway nearest the front door. So he pouts and sleeps on my bed (where he usually sleeps in the morning anyway) or will go lay down on the couch (where he sleeps in the evenings). The fact that two of his usual sleeping spots are available is beside the point. He is an old man set in his ways so I get long-suffering looks as he stands there waiting for his beloved window space to be clear of my clutter! He doesn't understand why I am doing this or even care. But this must be done. When it is over, I will be happier and can spend more time with him. Until then, I am working hard to get this job done and then it is back to making art!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I get by with the help of my friends... 4/30

Before the fire, I had a formal living room (now my studio). This secretary sat just inside the doorway and acted as an end table as well as housing a good portion of my teapot collection. At that time it wasn't in really good shape and I always had plans to sand it down & paint it. After the fire and the decision to turn this space into an art studio, I was in need of extra furniture for the space. Since I would also have my very own computer -yay- the refinished secretary moved to the other side of the room. My laptop is happy and I have wonderful display space for my art treasures behind glass doors. I am very fortunate to have originals by Ginger Edwards, Trudy Beard, Sherry Nelson, Bob Pennycook and Jean Zawicki, along with some other pieces painted by my friends. This is the inspiration that greets me each day when I sit down to reach into the internet world and beyond. What inspires your vision?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Summer Heat 3/30

The photo I was planning to use today didn't turn out... so on to Plan B! The mixed media group I participate in has the challenge this week of "summer heat" but the studio is still in flux. What to do?!? Noticed the small clock in my cabinet of painting treasures (will share that one day soon) and decided it met the criteria for the challenge and would give me a blog post as well - twofer! This is a little piece I designed several years ago. I remember growing masses of roses when I lived in Southern California. We had old vines that grew along the garage wall and up onto the roof. That first bloom of summer was nothing short of amazing - a solid wall of color. Alas, my roses struggle here in Florida. The cooler weather of late winter & spring (cooler being not as hot as July, mind you) is wonderful but by August the heat and heavy rainfall begin to take its toll on the hardiest specimens. That doesn't stop me from trying though. I just enjoy what I can get and paint the rest!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Storage Idea for Hanging Stencils 2/30

The blog challenge group that I mentioned yesterday is thru - still trying to figure out how to post up her button but I will persevere!! Now back to today's post... While I am in the process of cleaning out the studio, thought I would share an idea from someone else's studio - just wish I remembered where so I could give them credit! This is a short over the door towel bar I found at a discount store. I used a package of those cafe curtain rings with the dangling clips and threaded them all on the towel bar. This get-up is hooked to the front panel of my cutting table. The panel doesn't go all the way to the top of the table but stops about 10" from the top so I have access to the top cubbies without having to rotate the whole table. Paper rolls and small storage boxes/bags are accessible through these openings. Okay - I am off topic a bit - back to the hooks! I have collected quite a few long stencils that don't fit nice & neat in the filing cabinet. These are hung 2-3 together on the hooks. I can easily flip through & find what I am looking for, they aren't getting bunched up and/or wrinkled and bent up, and I can store quite a few in a very small space! Since I stand at this table when I use my Gelli plate they are getting much more use. Win/win!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Blog a Day Challenge 1/30

Challenge Accepted! Kelly Hoernig is participating a blog a day challenge via (will post this info tomorrow) and I thought it would be fun to play along. I will try to get the challenge link up by tomorrow but am a bit short on time to get that info plugged into this post. Working on some new ideas and my hibiscus tree has been prolific with new blossoms. Photographing this particular intense red has been a challenge. I am having to photograph the flowers at different times of the day. Intense bright sun gives me the glow from underneath the blossom but washes out all the detail on the surface. Fortunately these are only reference photos!