Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Summer of Painting: Abstract Mixed Media


For the last three years, I have been obsessed with learning about every possible technique I can use in mixed media artwork. Even though I can really see a lot of improvement overall, my painting skills with acrylics are not that strong. So this summer I have been focusing most of my effort on painting. I'm finally getting to a comfort level with them, and am enjoying the process so much. Most days I take my "studio" outside so that I can enjoy the beautiful weather we're having here right now. The funny thing is that the more I paint, the less I blog! Did I mention that I am obsessed?

I started out the summer painting whimsical, cheerful garden scenes and florals Diane Culhane's wonderful online course, "Paint Your Garden".  I do love flowers, but my heart has been leaning more toward abstract compositions in the past few years. Recently I've been working my way through a fantastic course offered by Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen - Layer Love 2.0.  The class focuses on painting abstract paintings with Golden Open paints. And finally, all of the techniques and things I've learned in the past three years are coming together exactly how I want them to. Here are some of the abstract paintings I've been working on this week.


"Climbing Higher"
Acrylic on 10" x 12" panel

One thing I'm learning about painting is to slow down and trust the process. The Open paints dry more slowly which gives you more time to work with them. That has really helped me to relax and not panic over paint drying faster than my brain can think of what to do next! It also is forcing me to work on a painting over several days. I tend to want to finish a piece all in one sitting, but I'm finding that I can't do that with these paints. At some point, you just have to set the painting aside and let it dry before working any more on it. Otherwise, you'll end up with pure mud on the canvas.

This next one is actually done over a floral painting I'd started earlier but wasn't happy with. There were too many different colors and patterns and it felt too busy. Plus, my flower shapes felt tight and didn't look loose and free like I wished they would. So I mixed some grey and covered a lot of what was there, adding some sgraffito (scratching into wet paint) so that some of the bright color and patterns still showed. It all came together so quickly and felt right. I love when that happens!


"Find Your Way"
mixed media on 8"x10" stretched canvas




This was another painting I'd started a long time and was not happy with. So I added more collage and layers of paint. Today it occurred to me to add an image transfer. This photo is actually one of my own, which makes me so happy!

In the Mist
mixed media on 10"x10" cradled canvas



Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I appreciate your comments so much! I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday. Take a look and check out the exciting work artists from around the world have been doing this week.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Partial Clearing" Mixed Media Collage

Partial Clearing
Mixed Media Collage on Canvas
8" x 8"

I've been busy listing this piece along with some of my other recent work in my Etsy Shop today. This is an original mixed media collage that I originally blogged about here. It is a very textural piece, due to the papers and modeling paste used to create texture under the painting. Thank you for your interest in my art! I'm happy to answer any questions. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flower Power: Art Journal Page



I have to admit I love drawing and painting flowers. I've been doodling flowers forever. There are so many possibilities with colors, shapes and lines.


In this journal page, I'm focusing on looking for the positive. Lately I've been hearing so many complaints from my kids. Nothing seems to be right, and certainly I am never right, at least according to them! (Why didn't someone warn me about the teen years before I had kids?). Anyway, it's too late to dwell on that now, so I am reminding myself to look for the flowers. There will always be weeds, but there is also so much that is good and wonderful all around us. I've noticed my own complaining, too, and I'm trying to stop myself and try to set a better example as a parent.



 I had so much fun painting, drawing and doodling this page. I'm afraid it got a little busy, but I like how cheerful it is.



The mysterious figure in the corner is a museum guard, you know those guards who have to sit all day watching to make sure that no one touches or steals the art? I cut the photo out of a magazine because I was intrigued by it. She certainly seems serious. I hope that she gets to see some flowers at some point during her day!

I've been painting lots of floral and garden themed paintings recently. If you're interested in seeing more of my work, go here, or just scroll down my recent posts here in my blog. I also have even more posted at Flickr.

I'm linking this to Art Journal Journey. Check out the other great Flower Power art people are posting there! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I always appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"For Her" Mixed Media Floral Painting

"For Her"
acrylic on canvas
8" x 10"


I bought a multi-pack of canvases recently so that I would have plenty on hand. Unfortunately, I'm discovering that I might actually prefer painting on wood panels to canvas. I painted a layer of modeling paste on this canvas before painting to create more texture, and as you can see, it creates a beautiful texture and depth in the painting. I used masking fluid to create the design in the leaves, and I am thrilled with how they turned out. Since I love collage, I couldn't resist adding a tiny bit to this painting and that is how I came to the title for this piece.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pointillism in the New Millenium

Another Strange Garden
Acrylic on Canvas
8" x 10"

I didn't think I would ever try pointillism. I am a patient person, but the thought of doing an entire painting using little dots of paint has never appealed to me. But Diane Culhane's wonderful online class "Paint Your Garden: The Language of Paint" has showed me a way to use this technique, more as an accent, or a way to add interest and texture. And now that I've tried it out a bit, I really like it!

One thing I've found it is very useful for is balancing color. If I use a color in one part of a painting, I'll make some dots of color elsewhere to help the colors make sense overall. I love it when you can see dots of color under glazing. It also is a way to adjust value by adding more light or dark without changing the base color. And, even though it seems like it would be tedious, I have to admit that it's kind of fun to do.

Have you ever tried pointillism? If so, how did you like it?

Welcome, Paint Party Friday Visitors! Thanks so much for visiting, and commenting.

Painting my Garden

Hello, long neglected blog. It's been a while! But summer is here, and I'm on vacation until September which means I have time for my art once again. For those of you that don't know, I teach ESL part-time at a local college when I'm not doing art. I squeeze in time for art whenever I can, so even though I haven't been blogging much, I have been painting, collaging, and drawing quite a lot this year. I'm focusing more on my painting skills these days and recently took Diane Culhane's wonderful online class "Paint Your Garden: The Language of Paint." Using a garden theme as inspiration, Diane teaches various painting techniques in this class such as pointillism and masking.

Lucifer and Becky
Inspired by the Crocosimia Lucifer and Daisies (Leucanthemum × superbum 'Becky') now blooming in my garden
acrylic on canvas
8" x 10'

I used a lot of masking in this one, both with masking fluid and masking tape. Can you tell where I used the tape? I might go back in and do more line work, but I don't want to lose the spontaneous feel I have. Diane uses the liner brush a lot in her paintings, but so far, I haven't been happy with my results. Like anything else, it will take practice.

Which brings me to another question -- How do you learn from an artist that you admire, but at the same time, keep your own 'voice'? I love Diane's style, but I don't want to copy it (and indeed, I am not able to copy it, at least at this point in time)?

Thanks for visiting today! I appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Growing Stronger, Updated



This is a piece I've been working for awhile. I started it in January and let it sit for awhile. To see what it looked like then, go here. The more I looked at her, the more I wanted to add more color. I love using the watercolor over gesso technique, but sometimes I want more color. I felt like I was putting her makeup on this morning as I dabbed some pan pastel color here and there! She may be done, or maybe not. I don't seem to be in a hurry with this one at all.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. I always appreciate your comments.

I'm linking this with the 29 Faces Challenge . Check it out to see some fabulous work from artists all around the world.

Thursday, February 13, 2014





























Three more stylized faces on gessoed chipboard today. I love catching glimpses of the text and colors underneath the gesso, as well as the great texture of the gesso. I used a combination of marker and colored pencil. This is actually going to be a little booklet which I will show soon. I'm so busy this week and finding that doing these little faces is a welcome diversion.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stylized Faces

I don't know that I'm good at stylized faces. I've been doodling faces my whole life, but when I try to be deliberately stylized, I feel a bit of a block. Anyway, here are three attempts at a stylized face, all using the same reference.











I'm call this last one "After the Swim" thanks to her green hair! These faces were so fun to do. They're on pieces of chipboard with a little gesso, then some marker and colored pencil -- another idea from Carla Sonheim's Faces 101 class. I like how each one is very different, even though I was looking at the same photo reference for inspiration.








Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just Another (Pretty?) Pastel Face



For some reason, this face is making me think of Little Red Riding Hood. My what big eyes you have! My what a big mouth you have! I was sketching with pan pastels at first, then gradually added some detail with pencil, and here she is. I kind of like her.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pretty in Pastel



Here is another face drawn first with chalk pastel, then going in with pencil to add some detail. I really love the softness of the pastel. I'm right on schedule with the 29 Faces Challenge so far! Go take a look at some of the beautiful work being done in this challenge, or maybe even join in yourself!

Thanks so much for visiting!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ink Dropper Faces - Vintage Ladies







 I looked online for vintage ladies to draw this set of ink dropper sketches. Their elaborate hairstlyles and accessories are so fun to draw! This method of drawing can be challenging because it is hard to control what happens with the blobs of ink in the process. There are elements in each drawing that I'm happy with, and other areas that I like less, but I do love the dramatic quality of ink. 

Faces in Pastel

Even though I didn't really have time for it, I couldn't resist signing up for Carla Sonheim's Faces 101 Class during the last week in January. Carla's approach to teaching drawing is so creative and fun. One technique from the class I'm really enjoying is drawing with pastel, using an eraser to draw. Here is one effort done in pan pastel on black paper. 



I'd never worked with pan pastels before and I've discovered that I really enjoy drawing with them!
The next two were done using chalk pastels, along with a bit of pencil sketching to add some definition and detail.






Most of the drawing for these faces is done with your finger, then using eraser to "draw" and create highlights, as a face gradually emerges. I'd drawn with pastel before, but never felt comfortable with it and honestly thought I didn't like it. But now I know better! Even though my faces seem gloomy, I'm feeling happy inside to draw this way.

Thanks for visiting! I'm linking this to the 29 Faces Challenge hosted by Ayala Art.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Silence -- Art Journal Page






"Enter a place of stillness and simply be where you are: 
not moving forward or backward but simply being utterly present,
 suspended in the space between past and future."
                                                                  Ruth Barrett

Friday, January 10, 2014

Growing Stronger - Work in Progress



Another year has started, and I feel that I am getting closer to figuring out what I really want to do in my art. Over the past two years, I've been like a sponge, absorbing and learning all I can about mixed media and collage, as well as striving for a more abstract style in my work. I'm more confident about drawing again and finding ways to integrate drawing into my mixed media pieces. Drawing brings my process to the forefront, exposing all of the messy twists and turns of the process, giving an  expressive quality and depth that I like. The imperfections are interesting visually to me. I love creating a sense of mystery in my work, leaving at least part of the meaning up to the imagination of the viewer. I've been working on my painting, too, and find that sooner or later, I come back to watercolor. I'm using watercolor over gesso in this piece, along with collage.

For all of the reasons, I feel I am growing stronger as an artist, and that feels really good!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Corrugated Cardboard Art: Christmas Garlands

I love making gifts at Christmas, if I can think of (or find) good ideas. This year's inspiration came from Jessica Sporn's fabulous Holiday Garland Tutorial. As soon as I watched her tutorial, I knew what I would make for gifts this year. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to order her lovely stencils and had to go ahead on the project without them.

I had so much fun making these garlands! They basically consist of a series of mixed media collages done on a corrugated cardboard substrate. The backgrounds are watercolor and/or fluid acrylic with stamping and other embellishments. I made my own very simple stencils and masks for the tree shapes this time, but would love to try out Jessica's beautiful stencils with some Christmas projects next year. Here are some photos of the individual collages as well as the finished garlands. I'm so excited with how they turned out. Thank you Jessica, for so generously sharing this great idea!


















Hmmm... I did my own lettering on the first set of collages for my 'test garland' and decided not to do lettering on the rest. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to keep one of the garlands for myself! 







I ended up making four garlands (one for myself, of course) and one for each of my sisters. Making gifts like this is such a win-win situation. I get to do what I enjoy most while making something special and unique for the people I love. It sure beats rushing around in the stores, looking for gifts to buy. I hope you all had a chance to slow down and create during the busy holiday and that 2014 is a year full of time to paint and create!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today. I always appreciate your comments.