Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unforgettable Art 2010

Today I received the great news that I have been selected to be one of 50 artists who will create our art on site for Unforgettable Art, an annual fundraiser for Alzheimer's. Ever since I learned of this event from fellow artist and blogger, Janet Nelson, I have been interested in participating. Janet will be participating again this year and I'm looking forward to meeting her.

Alzheimer's Disease has touched my family - both my father and his mother. It would have been Dad's birthday this week and it is fitting that my acceptance letter would come today.

I chose the above photo for this post because there are so many jet trails among the interesting clouds in the sky. Being a farmer, the weather played an important role in Dad's livelihood. He pointed out different clouds and jet trails to us. Even when Alzheimer's had a firm grip on him, he was still interested in jet trails.

Please check out the link to read more about this worthy cause. Thank you.

Make A Snowflake! (GPP Crusade No. 36)

I was waiting for the painting to dry on a couple of WIPs and decided to check out a few blogs. Michele Ward posted a reminder for the latest Green Pepper Press Crusade and gave this link to make virtual snowflakes. In the past, I've made virtual snowflakes at another site and it can be Just one snowflake today. And since I'd just been to Michele's site and we both love XOXO, I wondered if I could design a flake inspired by that motif.
Maybe you don't see the O's (they are the diamonds), but did you see the nifty hearts that showed up in the negative spaces? That was serendipity and I'm happy!
So I'm posting this as my 2nd edition to Braving the Elements, just with a twist. Thanks for the inspiration, Michele!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More January Journaling and a WIP

I'll start with a couple close-ups of a WIP (work-in-progress) using acrylic paint and Liquitex fiber gel on illustration board.

I really like the way these close-ups look. But I'm not as excited about the entire piece. I have some ideas, but pondering... Continue to the bottom of this post to see the entire painting.

I've been playing with more paper tiles in my journal. These were punched from a matte stack that I bought on clearance. There are some papers that I really like, but many I don't care for at all. So I decided to try this project. By altering them and adding layers of ink, stamping and drawing, I like the way it pulls together.

I used Tim Holtz distress ink to prepare the pages of this watercolor journal. After building the background color, I stamped leaves on the page. Today I applied gesso with a tailor's wheel to make the dotted lines. I never did that before, but it works as long as the gesso is thick enough. I will be adding some journaling, but not sure what I have to say yet.

Thinking of adding some metallic copper to this. I actually like the photo better than the real life piece. It mellowed a bit in translation. Before my last painting session, the colors were more pastel and I was going to add a bit of orange for accent. But I moved away from that idea after I added so much texture and darker hues to the piece. I'll keep you posted.
And to those of you who have wondered how we are after all the ice last week... We are great. There are just a lot of twigs to pick up out of the yard. However, they are under a new blank of snow that assaulted us yesterday. No gently falling snow in that system. The finches were amazing to watch as they tried to eat from their thistle sock in the driving snow.
Thanks for all your concern!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

From Frozen Fog to Ice Invasion

Last night the wind came and blew all the lovely frost from the trees and later a freezing rain pelted the landscape. Our neighbor's tree is sagging under the weight of ice. (Click on pictures to enlarge them.)

What a difference a couple of days makes. This is the ash tree in our front yard today. There is a creepy cracking noise coming from the ice coated branches.

This is the same tree on Saturday when everything was covered in a feathery frost after a freezing fog night.

The ice is destructive. Our neighbors lost a large section from a tree. Another neighbor's yard is littered with twigs. So far we don't have any visible damage, but there are a lot of sagging branches.

I thought this was an interesting shot using my Olympus FE-370. It's a great 8mp point & shoot that Hubby gave me for my birthday in Dec. 2008. I switched to the portrait setting and focused on the icicles hanging at the end of the rain gutter.

No treks out to the back yard are planned today! I took this shot through the dining room window.

You can see the brass stencil spelling HOPE on the window sill. It was my theme word for 2009 and since my Hope journal is not complete, I'm just going to go with the same word for now. My hope today is that Spring will not come late!

If you look closely, you will see that the icicles on the back bumper of this car formed at an angle! The wind has been quite stiff from the East-Southeast during this weather event.

There are even strange diagonal stripes of ice going along the side of the car!

I tried to open my car, but I couldn't get enough ice loose to open the door. I gave up before causing damage that I would regret!

Even though the ice is a nuisance, it has a beauty of its own.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 2010 Journaling

Journal page in progress. These "tiles" were punched from a 4x6 card that I used to experiment with this color scheme. I had tucked the card into the back of my journal. Last night I was inspired to use a 1-1/4" punch to make tiles. I found this already prepped page in my journal with a compatible color scheme.

This spread had been prepped with left over green and a bit of burnt sienna some time in the past couple months. I have several pages in this journal that get started this way when I finish a painting session on canvas, etc.

Right now I'm only thinking of adding some thoughts to the blank page on the left. The cardstock sticker that I applied to the right hand side provided a theme that I would like to write about.

This spread has evolved over several months. I tested a different brand (Amsterdam Expert) & color of acrylic paint on these pages. Later I glued the bird image on the page. The birds were printed on paper a friend used to send me a note. Several days ago I sketched the magnolia with chalk pencils.
I used Prismacolor pencils to build up the color on the flower and background of the page. A white Galaxy marker was used to write "Spring" and a Sharpie pen was used for the journaling.

Are you a fan of "24"? You know, the Fox drama series. There were FOUR hours of it to watch on Sunday & Monday this week as the new season kicked off! I HAVE to be doing something besides just relaxing in my recliner when Jack is on. This is high tension drama. Would you believe that I colored the Spring page while watching "24"?

Here's another spread in progress. I worked on it a bit last night, but this is a "before" shot and you'll have to check back later when I reveal more progress. It's another spread using up paint from a project. While working on the GPP snowflake pages, I flipped through this journal and added touches of gesso to several pages. That helped to tone down this spread that had been quite vivid and slick from the acrylic paint.
Last week I happened to glance up at the TV at just the right moment during an HGTV decorating program and noticed some appealing abstracts hanging on the wall of a remodeled room. They were on gallery wrapped canvas and had a border similar to what you see on this page. I didn't want to forget the idea, so I jotted a note for myself. But I still had a nagging feeling I should do more to remember. So I flipped through the journal and thought this spread would be a good place to add some type of textural paste or gel to obtain the look.
I used Liquitex Blended Fibers Gel which I had picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby but hadn't used. It is different from Golden's Fiber Paste which is opaque. The Liquitex product is translucent - more like thick matte gel, but it has fibers in it that give a fun texture. I will be posting an abstract that I've started since and used the Blended Fiber Gel on. I just need to get a decent shot of it. We need some sunshine!

Frozen Fog Creates Fantasy Landscape!

This is what happens after 2 days of fog, virtually no wind, and temperatures in the 20's.
I love this scene that I can see from our dining room that I use as my art studio. We placed finch feeders in the near flower bed. A large hopper style feeder is hanging in the Prairie Fire crab apple tree along with a smaller wire feeder. The junkos appear to enjoy the lilac hedge and the drift of snow that goes through it.

Earlier today I hid behind the burning bush just beside the dining room window. I caught a gold finch at the feeder. I had not seen them since fall and there appeared to be no activity at these niger thistle sacks all winter. I was delighted to see birds feeding there this weekend. When I grabbed the binoculars for a better look, I saw the familiar markings of the gold finch. They have their winter plummage now which blends in with the neutral landscape much better than their brilliant summer yellow. While composing this post, I've been glancing out the window. Several junkos have gathered under the tree where they glean the seeds fallen from the feeder. And there is a surprise guest in the tree. After a long absence, there is a mourning dove!
We have regular visits from cardinals and blue jays. Their color is spectacular against the snow.

On Saturday we awoke to a different kind of winter wonderland. The sun was shining brightly after a foggy night. Instead of a delicate layer of frost, there were spikes of frost on everything. I didn't get out until mid day and the sunshine was warming surfaces enough to cause the frost feathers to fall off and were scattered on the ground under the trees.

These are the heads of sunflowers that I am now calling "Feather Flowers".

Thursday, January 7, 2010

GPP Crusade 36: Braving the Elements

Michele Ward has given a new challenge with the GPP Crusade No. 36. Read about it here. Last month I prepared watercolor paper journal pages inspired by Teesha Moore. Check out her fun videos. When Michele suggested we make snowflakes to use as masks, I knew where I would draw my inspiration. Last fall I added "The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils" by Kanako Yaguchi to my personal library. Even though I have a tried and true method of making six-pointed snowflakes, I wanted to explore Kanako's ideas. I started following her designs pretty closely. That was a good warm up and then I started cutting more intuitively. These ended up being my favorites.

This spread was prepped with layers of aqua paint. Then I added gesso with the snowflakes as masks. More aqua was added and rubbed away for a distressed appearance. More gesso was applied with the masks in place.
The snowflakes were cut from scraps of drawing paper. It was a little heavier than origami paper which made it a little more difficult to handle for cutting, but it held up well to the painting process. Stencil glue helped keep the snowflakes in place while I worked.

Yesterday several inches of crisp, fluffy snow fell. Last night when I drove home, it was like I was driving on a sparkling crystal carpet. That inspired me to add a bit of glitter to my spread with glittered embossing powder.

I added some journaling with a Sharpie. I wanted to use a fine line marker, but it didn't want to write on my surface.

This is another journal I have been working in. I have an idea for text that I'd like to add, but I'm feeling reluctant since I really like the pages as they are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lakeside Retreat

Last Spring Mom discovered an antique oval frame complete with curved glass. I promised to paint something for her to go in it. This is what the completed painting looks like.
I took inspiration from a nearby lake where I find retreat. Using some reference shots of the local lake and my imagination, I sketched the scene and began the painting process working on illustration board that I prepared with gesso.