Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Faces Postcards Swap

All last week I had the stomach flu along with the bronchitis.  I am starting to feel a little bit better which is great because this being sick is getting old. I have lots of art to share.

I started out making collage backgrounds for some post card exchanges I am involved in. First I played with some neutrals.

Then some yellows and gold. I liked these so much it was hard to cover them, but that that was the plan.

The textured background was giving me fits on this face.

This one was done on a plain background.

Can you see what backgrounds these were done on?  Sometimes the whole background get covered up.

The following are the cards I have gotten.

Three are from the US and the first one is from Sweden. I love them all.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

In My Art Journal

I am still not feeling good. I went back to the Doctors and they sent me to the hospital immediately. They thought I might have a blood clot in my lung. So I had blood work and a cat scan done. Luckily I did not have a blood clot. That was pretty scary for a little while. I am feeling a little bit better but not much. I can sit in my studio and do a little bit of work. So I tackled some of the numerous backgrounds I have created.

I may add some words or journaling to this later, it doesn't feel quite done. I often find collage work cathartic and frustrating at the same time. Frustrating because I can't find what will work and cathartic in the sense that playing with miscellaneous bits of paper and images and making something new out of them is very satisfying.

After I finished this two page spread I found it humorous that I chose those words. Feeling good was not what I have been experiencing. I hope that is broadcasting my near future because I am so tired of being sick.

I added s postcard to this page. I initially made it to exchange with the new art friends I made in Misty Mawn's Face to Face class.  It was a little small in compared to what others are sending and I didn't like the way the face turne out but I think that she looks nice on this page.

In doing all this collage I ended up reorganizing my papers.  I have paper in drawers by color and then a drawer for new papers.  I decided to go through the new paper drawer and separate the colors and add them to the colored drawers.  So now all my blues are together even the big uncut sheets.  I think this will let me use my stash more efficiently. I think a reorganization of a studio has to happen often. I find it best to make the things I use often more accessible or I forget about them.

I continue to draw in my sketchbook daily but I think that I will do a journal flip at the end of the month. That way you can see the whole thing at once.

Have you been doing anything fun this week?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Little Break

It looks like I have been taking a little break without intending too.  On Saturday I was diagnosed with Bronchitis. I am now on anti-biotics and have an inhaler too. Never had the experience where breathing was hard before.

So I have done very little art, just reading a lot of books.  Hopefully I will be back here soon with something to share.  Maybe I need to do a journal page on how sick and tired I am of being sick. Maybe getting it out on the page will help.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Miscellaneous art

It is the end of the week and it looks like I have a lot of miscellaneous art that I have done throughout the week. It makes for a hodge podge of a blog post. We have charcoal, collage, painting and sketching.

A charcoal drawing from the Face to Face class. I have such a problem with charcoal smearing before I get finished. I love the immediacy of the medium but sometimes it drives me nuts.


Then its back to my journal for a couple more journal pages I finished. I incorporated a tag I painted awhile ago into the page. I always wonder what to do with tags and think this is a good use for them.

This face started with leftover paint from my palette. She looked a little plain so I added in a background.

I think it makes her pop off the page.

Sketchbook Challenge

I am continuing to do this sketchbook challenge using prompts provided. This is 3 days worth.

Some days I want to do more than the prompt as in the case of drawing my sock.

Here I drew the lamp in a waiting room.

I wanted to also start using the sketchbook to draw things I am interested in like these elephants. To use the sketchbook as a place to explore ideas.

I have done these kind of challenges before and find that when they are over with I don't stick with it.  I get stuck in that mode of "what am I gong to draw" and lose interest.  I think that when the prompts end this time, I don't want to stop. I think if I am doing some of these studies that I will have created a new habit that I will want to continue.

Do you keep a sketchbook? How do you use it?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PanPastels - Some Insights

Over the last several years I have been buying PanPastels. Initially I got some just for shading and highlights on my journal pages. That lead to buying more colors. Then I took some classes with Donna Downey and learned a whole lot more..  This post is to share what I have learned and some suggestions on how to get started with them.  I'll cover which tools I think are essential and which are not.

Pan Pastels are sold in sets and by individual colors. The best place to get them is at dickblick.com they have the best prices. Its helpful to know that PanPastels come in three kinds of colors. You have a basic color like permanent red, but you also have a shade and a tint of that color.  The shade has black added to it and the tint has white added to it.  Sometimes a color comes in a very dark shade but not all colors do. In using any particular color it is helpful to have the shade and tint in addition to the color.  That is extremely helpful when painting flowers. Initially I bought a shade set just for certain colors. I didn't like them because they were not very bright. Now I have brighter colors and the shades and tints that go with them.

Sofft Tools
PanPastels work best with a set of tools designed precisely for their use.  They are called Sofft Tools. They come in many different sizes and shapes.

The knives are like palette knives but they have a foam piece that covers them.  You use them like a paint brush and the edges are great for certain areas.

This selection of shapes is a must have. They are sold as a group and also individually in packs of four. You end up using these different shapes all the time. My favorite is the double pointed one.

These mini applicators remind me of eye shadow brushes and work great for small details.

The Big oval works great for laying down large blocks of color. I have not used mine very much.

This angle slice round lays down color and gets into places the big oval can not. I have used these more than the big oval one.

I got some of these round ones but have not used them yet.

Get one of the storage trays, they come in two sizes and hold 10 and 20 colors. The pastels fit right inside and can be moved around easily. They become an instant pallette. I didn't have one at first so I ended up unscrewing all the lids every time.

So which are my favorite sofft tools.  I recommend the knives and covers and the four shapes and the tiny applicators if you are on a budget.

Substrates - What  kind of paper can you use?  Can you use canvas, wood etc.  Yes to all of those.  PanPastels work on just about any medium but they will be more vibrant on a surface that has tooth.  Pastel paper is good. I suggest getting some absorbent ground for pastels.  Its a medium that you brush on your surface and then you are ready to go.

Using PanPastels: They are like using pure pigment, there is very little dust in compared to traditional soft pastels. Its like painting but your paint never dries out. When working with Pan pastels there are a few motions you make with the tools.  You can pounce the color on, blend the color and use edges of the tools to flick it on certain sections/  Blending of colors is done on the paper.  You just dap your tool into several colors and blend them together on your paper. Panpastels can be erased. Well small amounts can be erased.  I use one of those white eraser to erase when I have gotten a color where I do not want it. Colors can be layered over one another.

Clean Up -  You can clean up your tools on a paper towel. For those that will not clean that way some soap and water is all you need.

Finishing - Do you need a fixative, yes, PanPastels will rub off with your hand. I use both a workable fixative and a clear spray varnish when the piece is complete.

What I love about them is they have a wonderful range of colors, they are really easy to work with. You can add color to a page so quickly. If you have any questions please ask in the comments below.  I am happy to share what I know.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Am In Love

I think I am in love, in love with a pair of scissors. The other day I used my Michaels coupon to buy these scissors.

I know people who have talked about how sharp their Cutterbee scissors were but I had no idea how wonderful they are.  The Honeybee is similar, the only difference I could discern is that these ones have non stick blades.  They cut out collage images like a breeze.  Yes, I have other scissors and they are small like this but they are nothing like these.  Do yourself a favor and get yourself a pair.  They are amazing, you'll soon wonder how you ever cut paper before you had them.

I haven't worked in my art journal for awhile. Most of the pages I have done have been had been backgrounds. They stayed that way for a really long time. It feels good to finally put something on all those backgrounds.

Some of these pages were created organically, by that I mean I had no initial plan and once I was able to let go and let it flow they came together easily. Often I have this great background and I don't know what to do next. It is like I have put a barrier between myself and the page. When I am able to create from a free-er perspective the images that I end up choosing seem easier to find and then the next thing comes quickly too and before I know it a page has come together in a most satisfying way. The other thing I constantly have to tell myself, is that it is ok to cover things up, it leads you to the next step to that gem waiting for you.

Do you find that you hold yourself back, or are you always willing to take the next step?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

More Poppies

I have been working on more poppy exercises. The more I use pan pastels the more I love them. Think of it as using paint that never dries out on your palette. I am slowly learning how to use them to their potential.

This one didn't turn out like I wanted.  I realize now that I should have put the green background in first and then the misty looking poppies. That is what practice is all about though.

I am happy with this one. I really worked on blending of colors In fact I think this photo looks even better than the original, which I find is usually not the case. All that is left in the course is a final bigger project on canvas.  I may leave that for awhile.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Poppies, Feathers and Dominoes

I have been working in a Pan Pastel class that I took from Donna Downey. More exercises to come.  I do love these classes of hers.


This was a feather for a prompt in the sketchbook challenge I am doing.

Game pieces prompt.  Not feeling to well today so this is pretty simple. Rain is now coming down it looks like the day is turning dark and dreary. Time to watch some art videos.

I am taking Julie Fan-Fei Balzer's little class on gesso. Since I have been using it for years you would think it was one I would skip. I heard she was covering spray gesso and clear gesso which are two products I bought and rarely use. I figured it was time I figured out how to use them.  I have learned a lot about gesso I didn't know. Like all the different kinds, when to use which one and how to tint.  The class is fun so far. Ok off to watch another video.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Peek Into My Sketchbook

I finished these Rose Tyler fingerless mitts quite awhile ago.  They are a prettier color in person. I have not ever been able to photograph teal colors well.

Now I am working on a pair of Tardis Socks. So yes the Dr. Who craze continues. If you know nothing about Dr. Who, he is an alien who looks human who travels through space and time.  His ship the Tardis looks like a police box but is a lot bigger on the inside. He usually finds a earthly companion to travel with him.  He is the last of his race. Its a British show that is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  That is a long time for anything especially a TV show. I found the show a little quirky at first but I have learned to really love it. It has engaging stories and great characters, but you would probably have to like SciFi to like it.

This is as far as I have gotten.  I am working on both socks at the same time.

A Peak inside my Sketchbook

I am participating in a 30 day sketchbook challenge in a group on Facebook. There are prompts every day but you don't have to do them.  Day 1 was fish.

I wasn't excited about day2's prompts so I played with some birds. It is so much harder using pen. Big mistakes with the wood pecker.  I would have erased and started over if I could  but I just let it go.  I think sketching in pen is a great exercise in letting go, in being imperfect.

Day 3 had the prompt of a stack of dishes, well I thought that will be easy.  Well it easy to set them up but not so easy to draw.  My bowls came out pretty good but the plate and sauce looks nothing like what I was looking at.  Oh the joys of sketching.  It really is fun.  I think it was Danny Gregory who said that when you sketch something you learn about it, get to know it.  I think that is so true. Do you sketch regularly?  I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The End Of A Journey

This was what I started with on week 1.

This is the finished painting.  It is painted on Bristol Vellum paper and measures 34 X 60. I really am loving it.

I love how these prayer flags came out.  Sometimes such a simple view or a part of a painting can be such a delight.  In DEEP we were encouraged to take photos like these.  I have done this before and really like the idea. I think this will be something I do more often from now on.

This little vine I painted is another little spot that makes me smile.

The journey with this painting over this long period taught me a few things. Often I did not like the painting, did not know what was coming next. I was able to able to let go of any preconceived notions of what it had to be and let it become what it was supposed to be. That involved a lot of letting go.  I had never painted a dog before or sheep.  It taught me that I could do those things and it wasn't that big a of a deal.  Now I realize I can paint anything I want. I feel less limitation than before I started. I learned to follow my intuition with the painting. Painting can be a metaphor for life. All the things I learned with this painting can be transferred to everyday life. Letting go, listening to my intuition, feeling less limitation in life are all good things.  I am so grateful that I went on this journey.

 I've a little confession to make. I hide my art. I have some on the walls but its all in the basement, in my studio or office.  People who come over never see anything I have painted unless they go downstairs. I have decided it is time to change that. I have taken this painting and tacked up on a wall upstairs.  Its the first thing someone will see when they walk in my front door. Now that is a statement. The first of many.  I think taking BIG and DEEP is about painting but its about bravery too.