Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GPP Crusade No. 55: Disappearing Act - with Stamps and Stencils

Journal page close up.

Do you want to have fun creating lost and found edges?  What does that mean?  The above stamped image shows distinct edges and places where the edge is "lost" when the stamping colors merge with the background.

To learn how to create this look, read Michelle Ward's great tutuorial on this month's challenge.
Just follow this link.

 The first two journal pages were prepped with gesso.  Then I brayered Phthalo Green, Phthalo Blue and Green Gold on the pages.  Next I brayered the same color sequence over a stencil that I laid on the above page.
 I stamped on this page. Once again, I used the same colors of paint on the stamp that I used to color the page.
 I put small squirts of paint on the palette and a streak of matte medium.  They gently blended when I rolled the brayer back and forth through the paint.  I was careful to keep the roller in close alignment with the paint so the colors wouldn't blend all together and maintain some of the pure colors.
This stencil is by the Crafters Workshop.
 You get a better idea of the gradation of colors on this shot where I rolled the paint through the stencil on a white page.
 This stamped image shows what I stamped on the prepped page.  I continued to stamp off the paint to get the ghost images on the page.

Following are the pages that I created in my journal where I attempted to make lost and found edges.  I was using up paints on my palette from a different project. I applied paint with a stencil brush over a variety of Crafters Workshop stencils.  They weren't as effective as I'd hoped.  I learned there is trial and error involved with this process... easier said than done.

Thanks again to Michelle Ward for her inspiring and informative tutorials at the Green Pepper Press Street Team Blog.  Check it out!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

GPP Crusade No. 54: Mind Games -Inspired by the Iowa State Fair

I love the colors that surround me at the Iowa State Fair.  When Michelle Ward posted the August Challenge, Mind Games, I knew exactly where I would find my inspiration for the challenge.  This was a perfect chance for me to do a simple study of modern vs. traditional pigments.
Be sure to go to the GPP site to read what Michelle had to say about this challenge.

Have you ever tried mixing colors and just came up with muddy colors?  You learned in school that red + blue = violet, yellow + red = orange, and yellow + blue = green.  But it's not quite that simple.  If you mix the wrong versions of these primary colors, you will not end up with the pure colors you may have desired.
Try mixing only modern (organic) pigment colors together.  You will get pure, vibrant mixtures.
Traditional (inorganic) pigments work well together, but the mixtures will be more earthy.
Golden Artists Colors has a great reference sheet you can check out here and you can print it out for your reference. Follow this link for Golden's Organic vs. Inorganic Pigment list.

Back to the fair...

I chose the vegetable competition to provide inspiration for my Traditional (Inorganic) Color Palette (Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Medium and Cobalt Blue).
In addition to the primary triad, I used titanium white and ivory black.
In addition to the journal pages I've shown here, I painted entire pages with variations of the mixtures that I can use as the start of future journal entries.  I digitally extracted from those pages for the inspiration collage.

As much as I love daytime at the fair, the night holds my heart.  The midway and vendor lights are exciting against the evening sky.  Last year I discovered that the RetroCamera app on my phone takes the coolest shots at night, and I'm happy to share a few of those shots here along with my painted mixtures.
 The Modern (organic) Palette was created with Yellow Light Hansa, Phthalo Blue and Quinacridone Magenta.  Titanium white was used to create tints of the mixtures. It makes these transparent colors more opaque.  If I had wanted to retain more transparency, I would have mixed them with zinc white.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Getting all this information compiled together was important to me and it's coming late.   Come back for the September challenge.  I'm hoping to be back on schedule. ;-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

State Fair 2011 Art and Summer Learning

"Connections" at Iowa State Fair Fine Arts Exhibit 2011
 Sunday we attended the Iowa State Fair Fine Arts reception where we got to preview the amazing art that will be on display during this year's fair.  This was the third time I've had a painting juried into this show.  It's a thrill to get the bright colored postcard in the mail and find a check marked in the accepted box.

You'll find the Fine Arts display on the first floor of the Cultural Center.  It's on the hill on the east side of the fairgrounds.  If you want to see my painting, it's located in the SW corner of the fine arts room on a half wall.  That's not an ideal place to view it.  I'd prefer it be hanging higher and with more space to step back from it to take in its subtleties and depth.  But I'm still very pleased to have a painting on display.

Swan Love
 Another hobby of mine is digital manipulations.  Even though I've been playing with them for several years, I still consider myself a novice since there are many digital tools that mystify me.
The only good thing about Borders Books going out of business is that there are some great bargains.  I found "Digital Imaging Workshop" by Rick Sammon and paid just over $2.00!  Yes, it's a bit dated since he was using PS Elements 2.0 and 3.0.  Some of my tools are different in the PSE 4.0, but I'm still benefiting from his tutorials.  Last night I randomly chose a so-so image I took a couple years ago.  I often save this quality of shot just for the purpose of painting reference.
I learned a couple of new tricks from the book and added a couple things I already had up my sleeve.  Digital magic!  I know this image still has problems.  The distant swan in blown out a bit by being over exposed.   Even so, there are still many things I like about the results and I'm encouraged to keep learning.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Treats Palette - GPP Crusade No. 53

Virtual color palette extracted from scanned paint reference journal.
 A little scanning, Photoshop Elements, and imagination came together to come up with my Summer Treats Palette.  This month's challenge from the Green Pepper Street Team was the motivation to take a new look at my paint reference journal.  I use spiral bound watercolor paper tablets to develop palettes for many of my paintings.  I like to use a limited number of paints from the tube and develop a range of shades and tints so my paints will have unity.  This is one example of how I may proceed.
Scanned paint reference journal page.
These are smears of acrylic paint - Liquitex and Golden brands - that were applied to the page with palette knives.  Some colors are pure from the tube and others are blends.  I also added titanium white to some of the blends.  I write notes around the smears to help me recreate the colors.

I developed this palette last year while planning a painting for Unforgettable Art.  I used much of this palette for paintings of purple coneflowers.  Sadly, one of the paints is no longer available, so I'll need to do another version of this palette to come up with a good compromise.  Sounds like fun to me!

Be sure to visit the GPP Street Team blog to see how Michelle Ward prompted us for the challenge.  Maybe you'll be inspired to join in.  Even if you don't blog yourself, try this.  It was lots of fun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Jewelry to Premiere at Linn Creek Arts Festival this Sunday

 I've been busy creating new jewelry with some of my favorite beads.  You can see these and much more in Marshalltown at the Fisher Community Center this coming Sunday at the Linn Creek Arts Festival from 10:00-5:00.
This set was inspired by a gorgeous set of polymer beads created by Chris.  Her artistry and workmanship are top notch.  I found gorgeous orange garnets to coordinate with the polymer focal bead.  Red tiger eye and gold fill beads were added for accents.
It doesn't show on the photo, but the dark background on the floral beads has a hint of sparkle.  The white spots are reflections from my spot light.
Freshwater stick pearls were the inspiration for this triple strand necklace.  They're a beautiful shade of red-violet that perfectly complements the tourmaline and grossular (green) garnet beads.  Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal elements were used as neutral accents on this beauty.  The necklace is finished with a sterling silver clasp.
These earrings match the triple strand necklace.  You can see the fun texture of the freshwater stick pearls on this shot.  Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal elements complete the design.
Jasper comes in many varieties.  This necklace features a Fossil Coral Jasper pendant.  Picture Jasper and sterling silver accent the denim blue sodalite necklace.  The sterling silver toggle clasp closes in the front for an added design feature and ease of wearing.
More Fossil Coral Jasper... this time in marquis shaped beads.  I added Brazilian Petrified Wood beads and sterling silver to make a versatile necklace that can be worn extra long as one strand or wrapped to make a comfortable double strand necklace.  The matching bracelet closes with a beautiful toggle clasp.

I hope to see you Sunday at the festival. I'll be in booth #45. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GPP Crusade No. 52: Seasonal Wardrobe

Cover art on Strathmore Visual Journal
 This month Michelle Ward challenged Green Pepper Street Team participants to share seasonal "wardrobe" changes in our art.  Do I change my color palette with the change of the seasons? 
How does the changing of the seasons affect my art?

I tend to work with a limited color palette and usually prefer saturated colors.  But looking back at the past winter months I see that I played a lot with softer colors, especially aqua.  Maybe a desire to be at a warm beach during the long cold winter was influencing me.

Lately, I've been experimenting with bright green.  Today's project was to embellish the covers of a Strathmore Visual Journal.  They have a tough, shiny cover that I sanded to give more tooth for the paint.  Then I applied gesso that I distressed with waxed paper.  While the gesso was wet, I lay a piece of waxed paper on the surface and lifted it off.  The gesso dried with an irregular texture.
Next, I painted a thin layer of lime green paint on the surface and dabbed some off with damp cheese cloth.

The special seasonal touch to this cover came from the leaf masks. A short storm left bunches of leaves and twigs on the ground yesterday. I picked up a few and pressed them over night.
I laid the leaves on the covers and sprayed a couple colors of diluted Liquitex Acrylic Ink.

I really like the results of this project so far and have started a similar project on canvas.

This crusade has me thinking about the influence the seasons have on my work and I can use that awareness.
 When I get stuck for inspiration, I can let the unique qualities of the season spark ideas.  The bright green that I'm working in seemed too intense when the ground was covered with snow.  But now the outdoors is bursting with green and it just seems natural to be working with it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Triple Galaxy Painting at Octagon Art Center

I'm happy to announce that this painting was juried into the current Community of Artist exhibit at the Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames, IA. 

I previously posted about this painting when I was contemplating whether or not it was finished.  Honestly, I don't think I added anything more than my signature.  I took it to the critique group that I was attending and we all agreed that this orientation of the painting was best.  Sometimes when I work abstractly, I end up hanging the painting in a different orientation from how I did most of the work.  This is one example.  Most of the time while working, this painting was in a horizontal position on my easel.

I haven't been as productive with painting or making jewelry as I'd like.  The Linn Creek Arts Festival has invited me to return this coming July and I look forward to being there.  One of my creative outlets has been making lots of cards...  graduation, birthday, sympathy, etc.  I was introduced to the Martha Stewart scoring board which has been a great tool for creating cards and matching envelopes.  Tri-fold cards are so simple to make with the board.  Heavy scrapbook papers make a great base.  I should have photographed some to share with you.  Maybe I'll do that with future cards and a future post.

Earlier this week we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by spending an extended weekend in the Twin Cities.  We stayed at the Bird House Inn in Excelsior which is just a few blocks from Lake Minnetonka.  What a wonderful time we had and my artistic juices were renewed as well.  The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is just a few miles away.  The peonies and yellow lady slippers were glorious.  I definitely want to revisit this place.

I hope to post here more often.   Thanks to all my faithful followers. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Art at Snus Hill Winery on April 30th

I've been making some new earrings to prepare for the upcoming art sale at Snus Hill Winery this coming Saturday.  The event is part of a multi-community celebration in honor of the High Trestle Trail.  Read more here.
This grouping features different stones and sterling silver.  I've been shaping and hammering sterling wire.  That's lots of fun.
So is hanging out with fellow art lovers.  I hope you'll come out this Saturday and see us at Snus Hill Winery.
We'll be there from 10-5.

Turquoise and Sterling Silver Earrings

African Chrysocolla and Sterling Silver Earrings

Just a few of my earring creations.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hope Rewarded

Digital art from my painting and photography
My computer is operating again.  Hooray!  I need help from Hubby to tweak a few things, but I very happily played with Photoshop Elements this evening.  I really missed using it very much!

I combined a face that I painted following Sharon Thomlinson's class last year and a photo of daisies that I captured last summer.   Over the past several months, my computer was behaving very badly and I quit manipulating images on it.  Most recent pictures that I've posted here were edited on my smart phone using PicSay Pro.

Now I'm happy to say that my hope of having a faster running computer has come true.  I created several layers and many adjustments to my images.  There was no slowing down.  That is why this post is titled Hope Rewarded.  Thanks Hubby! xo

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Triple Galaxy Painting

Painting image taken Saturday under partly sunny skies.
 Do you ever wonder when enough is enough on a painting?  I have found that taking a quick digital image often helps me see the weaknesses in a painting.  There have been times when I thought I was done and was preparing my images to post a blog entry when I saw flaws that I knew I couldn't live with. Back to the easel...
Saturday was a good day to go outside and spatter paint.
 This is a painting I started several months ago and set aside while I contemplated what else to do with it.  It began with gesso resist monoprints and layers of blue-violet and red-violet.

This past week I added glazes of transparent color to give the painting more depth.  Some were sprayed on with a mister bottle and some were dry brushed on.  I added a bit of spattered gesso.  More glazes were added, but I knew I needed to put more energy onto the canvas.  That can get messy.

Fortunately the weather was calm and mild this past Saturday.  I laid the canvas board on the ground and shielded some of the areas with torn paper and the canvas circles you see on the above image.  Then I aggressively spattered gesso across the painting.  I followed that with some spritzes of glaze color.
Detail from the painting.
I liked the way the canvas appeared.  I like the digital images even better.

Inside my house is another matter.  The lighting is diffused, and the white areas are not distinct like they are on the digital imagery. The painting seemed dark and didn't have the visual movement that I could see outdoors.

This morning I put a thin layer of gloss medium/varnish on the painting.  That helps bring out the whites and gives the painting a bit more depth.  I hesitated to take this step because I wasn't sure I was done adding glaze layers.  The gloss layer isolates any new layers from the previous ones and any subsequent painting will go down differently.

It's time to step back and wait.   Again.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

GPP Crusade No. 49 - Journaling Forensic Self Portrait

Journal spread featuring a tea I like.
 Let me start by saying that I am very happy to be getting a post up today.  My lap top died last week. The hard drive is kaput.  The new hard drive that Hubby purchased turned out to be defective.  We are waiting for the replacement to come in the mail.  Now I'm using my computer that is operating on a Linux operating system from a disk!  My husband is a genius!

This post features a couple journal spreads I created earlier this month.  They are my entries for this month's Green Pepper Press Street Team Crusade.  Follow the link to learn more.

The above journal spread was built on pages that were prepped with leftover paint during a painting session.  I roughed in the face at the same time.  I decided to use this spread for the challenge when I opened a bag of Awake Tea and the color coordinated with my spread.  I've been drinking a lot of tea lately and enjoy a good black tea.
The page was embellished with tea bag ephemera, rubber stamping (clocks), chalk pencils and stenciled ink.

Layers of paint, ink and ephemera on one half.  The right side started with scrapbook paper.
 I've been following Strathmore's art journal free online workshops.  In a prompt to journal about favorite sounds, I remembered the sound that the rows of flags make snapping in the breeze on Memorial Day.  I created this spread to remind myself of that sound and to show my patriotic side.

The completed spread.

Many layers of paint and ink went on the left half.  A patriotic themed scrapbook paper was adhered to the right side.  Distress inks helped to unify the color of the two pages.  Stenciling with a doily gave the pages a common texture.  I collected canceled stamps for the borders.  The photos were taken at my home town Memorial Day observance.  I put the top left photo on a flap so I could journal more personal thoughts under it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

High Trestle Trail Grand Celebrations

On April 30th, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is celebrating the grand opening of the High Trestle Trail.  This trail features one of the largest pedestrian bridges in the world!  The bridge is over 1/2 mile long and 13 stories tall.  The trail is part of a 670 mile trail system that connects Des Moines and several Central Iowa communities.  Get out you bike or walking shoes!

Several area communities are hosting festivities to mark the occasion. One event is being held at Snus Hill Winery where 20 artists will have their work for sale.  A new artists group, the High Trail Trestle Artists, is organizing the event at Snus Hill.  Their members have invited other local artists to join them.  I'm blessed to be one of them.

There will be something for everyone at Snus Hill, including some great wine tastings.  The winery is set in the country where you can enjoy the rural Iowa scenery.  The artists will be set up indoors, so the weather is not a factor.

I hope to see you on Saturday, April 30th.

Monday, February 28, 2011

GPP Crusade No. 48 - More Evidence Journaling

Evidence page featuring a symphony concert we attended.
 The February prompt for the GPP Street Team is to create another evidence page in our art journals.  The theme is to come from an event attended last year, so Michelle Ward cleverly named the crusade: "Been There, Done That."  Read more at the GPP blog.

I've just completed half of my spread that you can see above.  Hubby and I attended a very special concert where the Central Iowa Symphony and Fort Dodge Symphony joined together.  Mahler's 1st Symphony was performed during the second half of the concert.  Near the conclusion of the performance, the French horn section is featured.  At the conclusion, the French horn players all stand as their fanfare fills the air.  It was a moving experience that I won't forget.  And it was so meaningful...

Beginning stages of the journal spread.
 A dear friend who had been a French horn player lost her battle with cancer the day before.  Her daughter, who is also a superb musician, was playing the French horn in the first chair position in the concert.

My friend was also an artist. We became good friends at the pool where we both did our workouts.  We quickly learned that we had so much in common.  Working out was more fun when we discussed the latest "Watercolor Artists Magazine" or the projects we were working on.

For this journal spread, I chose aqua and gold acrylic paint and gesso to prep the pages.  Aqua is for the pool and gold for the French horn.  The spiral stamp reminded me of the shape of the horn.

I adhered ephemera from the concert on my page with soft matte gel.  Chalk and oil pastel were added for more color.  I also spritzed the page with walnut ink and wiped off the excess.  Journaling was added with a Sharpie marker.
As for the right hand page, I plan to put a memorial to my friend on it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Strathmore Visual Journal Page - Snow Birds

Detail from journal page
We had quite a snow storm earlier this week. I had filled all the bird feeders in anticipation of the bad weather on Sunday. I was rewarded with the sight of juncos, aka "snowbirds" feeding in my back yard.

Inspired by all the activity, I pulled out my new Strathmore Visual Journal with watercolor paper and jotted down some thoughts with a Sharpie pen.  Then I put a wash over gesso over the page. I sketched the birds with a soft charcoal pencil.  Then I worked the page altering between the gesso and charcoal.  A light spray of walnut ink that was mostly blotted off added some warmth to the page.  A bit of Prussian Blue oil pastel was added to the birds and a bit of the background which was followed up with more gesso wash.
Graphite details sketched back in.  A colored pencil gave the page a title.  I used Souffle matte ink pen to outline "snowbirds" and write over the journaling that was done in graphite.
A few details were added with Sharpie poster markers. The snowflakes were stamped on using Lagoon-colored Chalk Ink.

Strathmore Visual Journal with Watercolor Paper
 The colors are very somber in comparison to my usual project, but they reflect what I have been seeing out my window most of the week.  We had some sunshine for a while today.  Now the colors are returning to what you see on this page.

I am very pleased with the quality of the new Strathmore Visual Journal.  It has stood up well to the wet layers I put down with minimal distortion of the page.  Most media that I've drawn with have gone on easily.  I have only been able to get the smaller sized (5.5 x 8 inch) journals at the local Hobby Lobby.  I think I may put together my own journal with their tablet paper that is available.  It's easy to fill the smaller format, but sometimes my ideas are bigger than that.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January Art Journaling - GPP Crusade 47 & Strathmore Workshop

Detail view of new art journal page.
Here's a fun winter project you should try.  Strathmore is offering free on-line workshops.  The first was introduced earlier this month and is taught by Pam Carriker.  Check out this link for more information.

Early in the journaling process.
 Pam guides us through a project that invites you to re-use previously created art.  Start by making copies of your art.  I used copies of monoprints that I created for the GPP Crusade No. 39.I cut out the plain butterflies and some border pieces.  Using scraps of the same paper, I punched out flowers and leaves and hearts.  They were adhered to a Strathmore Watercolor Paper Visual Journal. This paper stands up well to all the layers that went into creating this page.  I used a charcoal pencil to draw some details and outline some elements.

Layers of gesso and oil pastel have been added.
 I tried to cut loose and not judge too much.  But I have to admit that I was feeling discouraged at this point.  Seemed like I had an ugly duckling in my hands... but we know how that story turned out.

The completed page.
 Maybe it's not a beautiful swan, but I'm happy with the results.  I was stretched and learned some techniques that I know I can use in future art.  The following page used some of the same techniques.
GPP challenge using some newly learned techniques.
 The Green Pepper Press Street Team Crusade No. 47 - It's A Wrap challenges us to create an evidence page using gift wrap from Christmas and to journal about gifts given, received, etc.  We use very little gift wrap these days.  I love reusable gift bags and tissue paper.

This page started in the same Strathmore journal.  I wrinkled a piece of tissue paper that had red and green circles, then applied it to the page with matte medium.  I purposefully did not completely flatten the paper which left wrinkles and distorted the circle pattern.  I cut out the poinsettia from a scrap of paper that managed to come home with us from the in-laws.  (They are great about recycling regular gift wrap.)
The poinsettia was also applied with matte medium.

I knocked down the white background and neutralized the colors a bit with some walnut ink and a thin glaze of green oxide paint.  Charcoal pencils, gesso and oil pastels add more character to the page.  But the real star of this page is my new Sharpie poster paint markers.  They were on my Christmas wish list along with Sharpie pens.  I got Sharpies in spades.  In addition to my requests, I also received a large assortment of regular Sharpie markers with fine points.  I have NO excuse for not journaling.
I very loosely wrote over the top of the images.  I'm trying to not make the pictures so precious. Using a wet, juicy marker helped accomplish that goal.

So there you go.  That's my art out-put for the month.  I hope to spend some time at my easel very soon.