Thursday, December 20, 2012

Peace and Healing Art Journal Page

 This post could be subtitled, "The Real Reason I Haven't Finished Baking Christmas Cookies." Yes, I am prone to procrastination, even in the busiest of times (or perhaps especially in the busiest of times) and today was no exception. The kitchen was a mess, presents were waiting to be wrapped, and cards waiting to be written, yet I was calmly making a journal page. I guess I could blame it on my friend for sharing such a great quote on Facebook, because it really is so wonderful. I could also blame it on Jennibellie's latest tutorial on making a journal page in 15 minutes, which I also decided to watch today. But I think it was a little voice inside me telling me that it really is OK, and maybe even necessary to give ourselves permission to sit down, relax, breathe, and contemplate during this busy, and let's face it, sometimes stressful time of year.

The idea came to me to use this quote which I'd seen earlier and wanted to remember. In this time of so much violence and heartache in our country, and in our world, I found these words so reassuring and inspiring -- healing words to live by and remember now and throughout the coming year.

Thank you to all who have visited my blog this year and commented with such kindess. Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Draw Your Own Sun: Art Journal Page

I was out at the coast over the weekend for two gloriously relaxing days. I love being there any time of year in any kind of weather. It's always breathtaking, even (and maybe especially) on the blustery days. One cloudy morning, I got out my sketchbook and did some doodling.

I only had a few basic supplies with me but I had already collaged and painted a background on the pages to use up extra scraps and paint from another project. After doodling and dabbling with my pencils and paints for awhile, the words came to me.

On a cloudy day, draw your own sun.

And while you're at it, relax!

It was fun just giving myself time to play around. In this second page, I really like the way the caran d'ache works together with the collage elements and acrylic background. I just used what I could find -- items cut from the newspaper and a tea bag (do you see it?). If you've never tried tea bags in your collages, I highly recommend it. They're stained in delicate earth tones and are beautifully transparent. They also add a subtle texture that absorbs paint very nicely. 

Thank you for visiting my blog! I always appreciate your comments so much.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Art Journal Page: Thankful

It's Thanksgiving today, a time for gratitude and reflection, not to mention delicious food and family fun. There is so much I am thankful for. As I turned to this journal page I'd started earlier and began to write about my gratitude, I realized that I am more thankful for family and friends than anything else.

Here is the page before I started working on it today. The tape is homemade washi tape I made after watching one of Jennibellie's fabulous tutorials. I certainly am thankful for the generosity  and support of artists I've met online.

My Thanksgiving today ended up being very quiet and peaceful with just my immediate family. I wasn't feeling well, so we had to cancel our plans to join a larger family gathering. We all enjoyed our quiet day at home after a hectic few weeks. Fortunately, I wasn't too sick to sketch and paint a little.

Thank you, for visiting my blog! Your comments are always very much appreciated. I will be gone for part of the weekend, but I will be sure to visit your blogs over the next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recent Mixed Media Paintings

A few weeks ago, my son and I were talking about how to make aged papers by soaking paper in tea. That lead to a fun morning of experimentation with different kinds of tea and coffee. He showed me how to crinkle the paper to enhance the overall distressed effect. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had collected a bunch of leaves and was pressing them between layers of assorted papers from the recycle bin after putting ink on the paper, and on the leaves. We soon had a big stack of papers, which we pressed under our trusty Webster's unabridged dictionary for over a week. It took that paper forever to dry! But the end result is some beautifully textured and colored papers that I can incorporate into my collages.

"Things are not what they seem"
Mixed media on 4" x 4" canvas

The face was an afterthought here. It started as an abstract, but as I looked at it from across the room, I saw a face, so I sketched and painted to define it more clearly.

Mixed Media on 5" x 8" canvas

Mixed Media on 6" x 6" canvas

Thanks for visiting. Your comments are much appreciated! Be sure to check out the other fantastic artwork at Paint Party Friday.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Art Journal Page: Watch Out!

I was playing around with different styles in September while participating in the 29 faces challenge and this is face #23, a rather cross looking lady who's inspired me to make a quick journal page. I collaged her in, along with my lovely words. No poetry today, folks, just plain old telling it like it is (sometimes).

....Linking to paint party friday. Thanks everyone for looking. I really do feel like being nice most of the time and greatly appreciate your comments. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Art Journal Pages: Fall is Here

Lately I've been making an art journal out of a mail order catalog because I can't seem to resist any new idea that comes along and this one looked like fun. It's actually turned out to be quite an undertaking!

 At the same time, I've been reading Pam Carriker's book, Art at the Speed of Life. What I love about her book are the practical strategies for making art a part of  everyday life. One of the projects of the book is a 7-day journal project, which breaks the process of making a mixed media journal page down into steps. I am more of an all or nothing gal who hates to stop a project once it's started, but it's been nice to try a more methodical approach and learn some new techniques at the same time.

Slowing down and only doing one or two steps a day has helped me to relax a bit, rather than feeling I have to frantically get something done while I have a chance. One day I did background painting, then on another day I added some image transfer and collage elements, and on a third day I added texture, and so on. It feels good to have a specific plan for how to work. Taking a break in between steps also gives me time think a little more about what I'm doing and come up with new ideas. I've also been using this idea  with various other in-progress projects as a way to hopefully get some fresh inspiration, move past my mental blocks and finish them.

I didn't really start the journal with a theme, but the change of season and beautiful leaves starting to turn are taking center stage. The lovely words here are from Emily Dickinson. If you're interested, you can read more about this page along with the complete poem in my earlier post.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I always appreciate your comments.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another Face

Here is face #22; a little behind, and a little blue, but I am determined to finish my 29 faces. This one started as an eyedropper face on a sketchbook page I'd already sponged some blue paint on. I decided to go back in with charcoal and work for a realistic look. It's been years since I've worked much in charcoal, and it feels really great to be be using it again!

Into the Beautiful: Mixed Media Journal Page

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful. 

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mixed Media Face: Glimmer of a Smile

It's my birthday today, so I'm celebrating with Face #20. I'm all caught up at the moment. Hooray! So anyway, this is a mixed media face. Although I've been exploring mixed media over the past year, I've I've been resisting this style for some reason. One reason is that I feel it's a bit trendy, and I don't want to do something just because of that. I want to stay true to my own voice in my work. But probably the main reason is that I've been a little timid about using my own drawing in my work. When I studied art long ago, I was quite good at drawing, but then for many years, I didn't keep up with it. I never appreciated the value of consistent practice over time. When I started doing art seriously again, I realized that my drawing wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, and I was shy about putting in my artwork. It's been a great year, though here I am, with a glimmer of a smile, happy to feel I've been making progress.

(Friday 9/28 update -- I posted this last week for Ayala's 29 Faces project but I'm also sharing today with the wonderful artists at Paint Party Friday.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

29 Faces: 17 -- 19 Pencil Sketches

Here are three pencil sketches, using magazine photos as references. They're not technically one-line portraits, nor are they pure contour drawings either.  But I didn't lift the pencil while sketching.

Noses are hard, and I see I didn't get the eyes right on the last one at all! Still, overall, I'm happy with this set. It's good to be practicing more frequently.

And just like that, I'm caught up...for now.

One line sketches

Faces 14 - 16 are quick, one-line sketches in pencil...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Charcoal Studies: Faces 12 and 13

So after looking at my faces so far, I decided it was time to get my old friend charcoal out and aim for softer lines  and more depth. Here are two quick studies.

I'm working from references, rather than doodling, though these two faces look very little like the originals. I need to find more interesting faces of all ages and genders to work with and push myself out of my comfort zone, though. I actually tried drawing a male face, too, but it was such a disaster I'm not posting it here!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Faces 10 -- 11: More Experimentation

Here are faces 10 and 11, also beginning with a collaged eye and done in oil pastel.
#10 original in ink, pastel and watercolor
#10 with digitally altered color

#11 original

#11 with color altered digitally


29 faces #9

in black and white
muted colors

the original version

In the spirit of trying something new, I did the following:

  • began my sketch with a collaged eye because, well, it just seemed like fun
  • used oil pastel, which I almost never try. hmm...I still like painting better, but the colors are nice.
  • digitally altered my sketch with different effects (which was really fun).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Abstract Portrait

29 Faces Challenge #8

I'm cheating a little bit with this one, since I did this last summer. But since I'm catching up, and since this is a fun portrait exercise to do, I thought I'd share it here. Over this past year, I've been trying to do abstract compositions. This was one of my first efforts, which I blogged about earlier here.

WIP Mixed Media Collage (with 29 faces #7)

I was sketching from a magazine photo and decided to create a collage with it. Her downcast pose really appealed to me. I'm a little afraid of ruining the face, but I know I need to paint it to integrate it with the other elements. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to make a simple monoprint

This is a quick and easy monoprint method. Before you start these steps, you should prepare the image you want to print. Or, if you prefer, you could draw freehand. A drawing with interesting lines will work best.

Step 1: Put some ink on your printing plate. A piece of glass works well, or you can use a piece of plexiglass as you see I am using. I am using water-based printing ink here, but you can also use acrylic paint. Since acrylic paint dries very quickly, you will probably want to add a retarding medium to the paint so it doesn't dry before you've finished printing.

(if you look closely at this tube of ink, you can see it was $1.00! Clearly an old tube of ink, but it still works fine).

Step 2: Use a brayer to spread the ink evenly on your printing plate.

Step 3: Position the the paper on the plate, over the ink. Then, place the design/drawing you are using over the paper. Printing paper, or thin paper works best. I like to experiment with different papers. Here I am using tissue paper. Now, use a pencil and draw over the picture.

Step 4: Now you are ready to pull your print. Gently lift it off the plate to see your results. This is the magical part of printmaking, and what makes it so exciting, in my opinion!

And here it is. You can see the tissue paper tore a little bit, so it might be too fragile to be practical for this method.

Step 5: Now you should be able to pull another print, which will be a reverse print. Here are photos of that process. You can see the lines from the first print on the plate. And in mine, you can also see bits of tissue paper that stuck to the plate.

Put another piece of paper on top of the plate and rub to make another print. A wooden spoon works great for this step.

Pull your print and see what you get! Mine is very light. I think I should have used a little more ink to begin with, and not been working in direct sunlight because it was drying the ink out too quickly! But the weather was so nice today, I couldn't bear the thought of working inside.

Here are some other prints I did today. I'm hoping to use them in collage and mixed media pieces.

29 Faces: 3 -6

I'm playing catch up at the moment, so here are 4 in one. A while back, I picked up a copy of Carla Sonheim's Drawing Lab for Mixed Media. It's really a book about how to have fun with drawing, whether you are doing mixed media or not, and I would definitely recommend it for all ages and abilities. One of her projects is to draw 100 faces over a period of time. I started this earlier in the year, but let it slide until now. If I can get 29 in this month, I'll have made some excellent progress!

Here are four I did using her eyedropper drawing technique in which you draw using the dropper that comes with a bottle of drawing ink. I used magazine photos for reference, rather than just doodling as I often do. After the ink dried, I went back in with more sketching, watercolor, and collage. I was hoping for a "funkier" outcome than this, so perhaps I will have to try again, working into wet paper to see what I get.

29 Faces Challenge: Faces 1-2

Better late than never, right? That seems to be my motto in life for so many things, including my art. So here I am, joining in on the September 29 Faces Challenge nearly half way through the month. I love doing faces, though, and this will motivate me to keep practicing them. Ever since I was a little girl, I was always drawing girls, and especially faces. Just ask my parents and my teachers (even some of my college teachers, I'm embarrassed to say). This great challenge is hosted by Ayala Art.

I'll start by showing two self portraits I did recently.

They are monoprints. The second one is actually a ghost print, pulled from the plate after making the first print. This process is actually quite easy, and fun to do. This Youtube video gives you an idea of how it works. I have to admit I "cheated" by putting a printed out photo of myself over the paper and drawing over it. And I also just made a tutorial to show you how I made these prints here:  how to make a simple monoprint.

So that's 2 down, only 27 to go! Thank you to Ayala for hosting this great challenge. I'm always inspired by other artists, and appreciate your comments.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Reeling, Through Endless Summer Days

Is it really September already? Where has the summer gone? August flew by in a blur and now, the kids are back in school, which means some peace and quiet and time to paint!

This piece is a combination of collage, image transfer (the sunflowers) and acrylic. The pattern in the lower part of the painting comes from a gel printed piece of sewing pattern tissue that originally looked like this:

The beautiful pattern in the print is from a crocheted doily. It was fun, and challenging to try and get the abstract and representational elements to work together in this composition. While I painted, I focused on layers of glazing to add depth and texture and I actually ended up painting over the flowers quite a bit to enhance the color.

 I started this piece, I'd been thinking about these words from Emily Dickinson's poem "A Liquor Never Brewed":

 Inebriate of air am I, 
And debauchee of dew, 
 Reeling, through endless summer days, 
 From inns of molten blue. 

 Lovely, don't you think?

I'd also like to remember my grandmother who passed away at the end of August, at the age of 102, quite an amazing woman! One of my fondest childhood memories is of her taking us to see the wild crocuses blooming in the spring. We lived pretty far north, so often the crocuses would be poking up through the snow! For her 101st birthday last summer, I made her this mixed media collage (blogged about here) to thank her for the beautiful memory.

I miss her, but I'm so glad she had such a long and healthy life, and that I could have her in my life for so many years.

Thanks for stopping by! Your comments are always very much appreciated.