Monday, July 25, 2011

Perennial Series

I've been working on my first Illustration Friday topic: Perennial and having a lot of fun with it. Here are two more in the series.

Illustration Friday: Perennial

"The immortality of flowers must enrich our own"
- Emily Dickinson

I love flowers, so I had to do this topic in a fairly literal way. On gloomy February days, I love looking out my window and seeing the hellebore in bloom. I had so much fun working on this topic, I actually did a small series which you can see here if you're interested.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Updated Beach Collage

After my post yesterday, I did some more painting and added a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea. I also added some tissue paper in the bottom part of the landscape to soften the colors in that area a bit. This is definitely a fresh new way of working with landscape for me and I like it! For some reason, the photo is picking up the yellow sun rays and emphasizing them quite a bit; however, they are actually softer and blend in better with the rest of the composition than the photo suggests. I'm trying out Golden fluid acrylics, and find them to be fantastic. The color is intense and transparent at the same time. The intensity of the yellow seems to be emphasized in the photo.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Two Landscapes

I've tried my hand with landscapes over the years, sometimes with more success than others. I find it challenging to get the lighting right, among other things. Here are two recent landscapes I've done. The first is a small abstract watercolor landscape.

I'm pretty happy with this little painting. I used bright colors and didn't worry too much as I painted. It's fun to paint in this free style and let the image emerge.

The second landscape is a mixed media collage. My family and I have recently been spending a lot of time at the ocean and I'd like to bring more of those experiences into my artwork.

I don't feel like it's finished at this point, but I'm not sure what else to add. I may add some text, or more collage elements. I like the idea of using collage and painting together like this, though. It's a new way of working for me, and I'm finding it to be much more fun than doing a more traditional landscape painting.

to be continued....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunshine and Song

Come often to us,
Sit near us on the bough
We'll talk of sunshine and song.
-William Wordsworth

I started with an inkjet transparency transfer of a butterfly that I'd printed out on graph paper. The quality of the transfer wasn't great, but I loved the shape of the butterfly and the colors. I decided to start with some interesting background papers with stitching and shapes, then add the transfer and go from there. I used a combination of watercolor and acrylic to paint the background and the butterfly. The words are image transfer done with packing tape. I also used my handmade butterfly stamp for some added texture and interest in the painting.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I remember crocus blooms

I grew up on a farm in northeast North Dakota. Our winters were long, and cold. Every year in early spring, we'd look forward to a call from my grandmother, who lived a mile north from us in to tell us that the crocuses were in bloom. We'd drop whatever we were doing, jump in the car, pick up my grandmother and go to look at the crocuses, blooming in the snow. Such a lovely memory that I was able to capture in this little collage. The crocus image is a gesso transfer and I the song title and music is from an old music magazine I found in a second hand shop. My grandmother's 101th birthday is next week and I'm planning to send her this collage as a gift and a reminder of that special memory she gave me as a young girl. The photos show how I've worked on this collage in stages.

After I looked a the photo above, I felt the right side was too dark, so I worked some more on it as you see below:

I glaze with lighter colors, and found a map of North Dakota to add for an even more personal touch. And finally, the version below is (hopefully) the finished version:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


My husband recently suggested that I branch out beyond birds as subject matter. I do like birds, but I was drawn to this wistful, dreamlike image of a woman. I used gesso transfer for the images of branches and the woman, followed by paint and pencil to enhance it further. The lovely pink resulted from the image transfer process -- a happy accident that gave me a pleasing palette to work with in this piece. At one point, I had a much larger lily in the collage, but decided to remove it in favor of these smaller, more delicate ones.

Part of the text in the background is from Virginia Woolf:

"Certainly she was losing consciousness of outer things...and her name and her personality and her appearance, ... her mind kept throwing up from its depths, scenes, and names and sayings, and memories and ideas, like a fountain spurting over that glaring, hideously difficult white space..."

And the caption is from a dream interpretation website. I love the idea of dreaming that you are experiencing delight.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

May your heart always be open

I'm not completely happy with this piece, even though I've worked a lot on it! The bird is an image transfer, further enhanced with tissue paper collage and drawing. At one point, the branch the bird is sitting on was a prominent part of the design. Nevertheless, I wasn't happy with how it looked and decided to add some collaged inkjet photo transfers of branches for some more texture and interest. I painted over the transfers which created a beautiful, transparent leafy effect. The beautiful quote is from T.S. Eliot.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fly Away?

This bird seems so pensive as if thinking of flying away, but not quite sure. I used an inkjet image transfer, then enhanced it with pencil and paint. I happened to find the "middle of nowhere text" in an old magazine ad and thought it fit perfectly with my theme of escape.  An old musical score adds interesting visual texture, but also suggests the beauty of a bird's song, as well as music's powerful ability to transport us to another place and time. I'd made the butterfly stamp used in the top right corner awhile ago, and thought it would go nicely with my thoughtful bluebird.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

Friday, July 8, 2011

Another Bird!

This is a larger collage, still following the "Hope" theme as in my earlier series of mini-collages. I used a 9' x 12" gesso board, again with a combination of collage, image transfer and fun paint techniques. My first image transfer attempt failed, so I painted over it with acrylic paint and did an acrylic paint transfer. To get the droplets and texture effect in the background, I sprayed dishwater suds into the wet paint. I love the effect it creates!

The first photo shows the partially completed collage, with the image transfer in progress. I used an inkjet print, painted the collage surface, and the surface of the image, then pressed the image down into the paint to dry for a few hours. 

Next you can see the completed collage, with the transferred bird image. I used a meadowlark because I often saw and heard their beautiful song in my childhood. 

I love the paint image transfer technique. It's quite easy to do and the end result is not too perfect nor is it immediately recognized as a photographic image. To me the effect is quite interesting and visually pleasing. The vine and leaves to the left of the bird were stenciled on a page from an old book, then enhanced with drawing. I also drew and painted, as well as collaged some other similar, but not identical leaves to balance the composition. 

A mixed media collage series

I've recently been in a collage and mixed media frenzy! At first, I was primarily experimenting with techniques and materials, as some of them are new to me. Sooner or later, it comes time to take the next step and create some finished pieces. The following are a series of collages, loosely based on a lovely Emily Dickinson poem entitled "Hope."

I used 4"x 4" canvases, so these are definitely mini-collages. I used ink-jet image transfers for the bird images, together with a variety of other papers and paint effects. It was definitely a satisfying endeavor to move beyond exercise to creating finished collages!