Monday, March 31, 2008

Iowa Artists Regional Show & a Ribbon!

On Saturday 3/29/08 I entered 3 works of art in the Iowa Artists regional show in Ames.

"Iowa Artists is a non-profit educational program for Iowa adult artists, and its purpose is to sponsor annual exhibits which provide an opportunity to exhibit original works, to share ideas and to receive professional criticism, advice and encouragement, as aids to upgrading the quality of artwork."

I took an acrylic, a watercolor, and a colored pencil painting. I was thrilled to receive an honorable mention ribbon on my watercolor - Leaf Trio. I received helpful and encouraging comments on my work.

A good friend joined the organization this year & she received an honorable mention ribbon on her portrait drawing. I was so happy & proud for her. There was so much to learn and I know that comments I heard through the day will help me with my future works.

(Leaf Trio is available for sale. Leave me a comment if you would like me to contact you with details.) Leaf Trio has been sold.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Illustration Friday - Pet Peeves

After considering many peeves (and seeing excellent illo's by other IF participants who covered those ideas), I settled on this piece I started last week.
I grabbed a piece of watercolor paper, taped it to my board, and proceeded to wet the paper. Then the hills began to appear. OOOOOO - a pet peeve was there before my eyes. Rippling paper.
NOW - as an experienced painter, I should have paid attention to which paper I selected. This is 90# paper that I usually use for crafty projects. But I wanted to work more traditionally. This paper just isn't cut out for it. Even if I had taken the time to stretch it, it fails in other ways. It doesn't lift well. After a little abuse, the surface starts to deteriorate (I've cropped that out of the image.)
In my last post I told some of the virtues of working with a limited palette. I used a triad of colors suggested by Dory Kanter in her book Art Escapes.
These are Winsor & Newton Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon & Winsor Blue (Red Shade).
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Limited Palette Watercolor Landscape Study

A fun challenge with watercolor is to do a painting using only THREE paint colors. Tonight I did a quick study with a triad of earth colors: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & Indigo. They make an earthy version of the classic yellow, red, blue triad.

I only used a 3/4 inch flat brush to paint this 6 x 9 inch landscape. It was done quickly & intuitively. The final touch was to scratch lines into the foreground with the pointed end of the brush handle while the paper was still quite damp.

I have been inspired to play with triads by Dory Kanter and Nita Leland. I love their books.

I am teaching another watercolor class at the Swinging Bridge Studio . Check out the link for information on signing up. We will meet on April 15th & 22nd with the option of further sessions. Working with a limited color palette will be included in the class.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Etsy Listing Venetian Glass Earrings

One of my goals is to regularly add new listings to my Etsy shop, but I let other projects distract me too often. Tonight I added a pair of Venetian Glass Earrings to my shop.
What are Venetian Glass Beads? Authentic Venetian Glass Beads are made in Italy following ancient traditional methods. The glass is formed around a copper wire which is later dissolved with acid when the bead is completed. Imitation or copy-cats are massed produced on a wire coated with bead release. If you see chalky residue in the bead hole, it is not authentic Venetian Glass. You can read more about Venetian Glass here.
I hand selected this pair of beads. It was so hard to narrow down my selections, because there were so many beautiful designs to choose from. The pattern on these beads make me think of Van Gogh's iris painting - in a very abstract way. (On a side note, hubby & I saw this painting in 2003 when we traveled to Amsterdam. The Van Gogh Museum is one of the world's most popular museums, and it is well worth the trip!)
You can find another selection featuring Venetian Glass in my Etsy store. I hope you'll take a look. Be sure to contact me if you have any questions.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Alcohol Ink Art - Landscape Card

This is the outside of a greeting card I created on Saturday using alcohol inks. I used the same process that was described in my last post. The rubber stamps I used are from an older Stampin' Up set.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ranger Alcohol Inks Tutorial - Jungle Theme

I recently mentioned making a lot of name tags for a church retreat and promised to share how I made them. My goal was to color the tags with product that wouldn't bleed on clothing if the tag got wet, so I decided to try using alcohol based inks. I used Ranger Brand Adirondak Ink and Jacquard Brand Fiesta Color. The Ranger inks are readily available, but I think the Fiesta name is obsolete (I've had it a number of years). I did find Jacquard PInata colors on line. (Maybe there was just a name change - let me know if you have any info & I'll update this post.)

For this tut, I went through the sames steps I took for the name tags, but I applied the ink to glossy card stock. Glossy paper takes the ink on with a depth that doesn't come across in photos. You really need to see it in person to appreciate the beauty.

Ranger has an applicator & felt pads to apply the ink which are convenient and economical. Even after ink dries on the felt, it can be reactivated with the Adirondak Alcohol Blending Solution or 91% alcohol. Alcohol lightens the ink. I've seen tuts using cotton balls or foam sponge, but these are messier & you will want to wear protective gloves when using these.

I placed a few drops of color on the pad, then a few drops of blending solution to disperse the ink on the pad. The pad is tapped on the paper to build color. You must work quickly, because the ink is fast drying. For this project, I used one color per pad, but you can put more than one color on a pad. Instead of tapping, you can wipe the applicator across the paper, swirl it - use your imagination.

91% rubbing alcohol can be put in a fine mister to spray lightly on the paper. It will lighten spots and add more depth to the design.

Add as many layers of color as you want to achieve the look you are going for.

Next I stamped images using solvent based ink. I cut the paper to desired size and made greeting cards featuring the images.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Illustration Friday - Garden

Oh my! When I saw this week's topic is Garden, I was so happy. I have SO many garden pictures. I have a fairly large garden that is nearly full of perennials. We also have several smaller flower beds around our property. They are all buried under snow, but that should be gone very soon. A lot of ideas came to mind for IF, but nothing that I could do justice to this week. Yesterday I played with watercolors on Ampersand textured clay board, but I'm not sure it will see the light of this blog. I REALLY like the clay board. I'll have to watch for good sales on it so I can stock up.
I'm posting a painting I completed about a year ago. I used Liquitex heavy body acrylics on Crescent illustration board that I prepared with clear gesso. Clear gesso gives a tooth to the surface that I really like (ever get licked by cat?). It does cause brushes to wear more than if you painted on a smooth surface.
I used a reference photo I took at Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa. Cannas excite me, especially when they are planted in mass like they are done at Reiman Gardens. The rich colors, the textures..... While I was working on this, I would get so caught up with painting that I would get breathless.
This was my most ambitious acrylic painting at that point and I was very happy with the results.
I considered offering this painting for sale, but I can't part with it. I would like to get prints made and need to work out the details to accomplish that. Convo me if you are interested. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Illustration Friday - LEAP

Because it's a LEAP year, this week's topic for IF is LEAP. I've been thinking about trying a portrait of an inspiring woman I met last weekend at my church's women's retreat. Her name is Marilyn Laszlo. One thing she shared is how we demonstrate our faith by taking that first step toward where we are led. Marilyn followed her calling to be a missionary which led her to Papau New Guinea where she lived with a primitive, Stone Age tribe for 24 years. In my opinion, her step of faith was more like a LEAP of faith. Go to her web site for fascinating accounts of her inspiring stories. Her book is wonderful! I was on the committee for the retreat. In a future post I will share how I made colorful name tags for the attendees using alcohol based ink, and solvent based ink.

Well, my time is limited this week, so I put the portrait on hold & decided to take a LEAP that is more familiar.... experimenting with media. I purchased a package of Ampersand textured clayboard which has been renamed "Aquabord". I used my Caran D'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons exclusively for the image of a sunflower that I interpretted in a loose manor. Last summer I tried the crayons on smooth clayboard. The results were interesting, but I prefer the texture of this board. I built up layers of color. The initial layers were blended by brushing them with a damp brush. I prefer to use a Sakura water reservoir brush for its convenience. I love the brilliance of color using this method & plan to explore more in the future.
Here are 2 generous artists, Catherine & Fannie, who have shared much info about watercolor crayons on their blogs. Take a LEAP and try this wonderful product.

It's always a LEAP to invest in new product and hope for the best. If any of you have ever used this process, let me know. I'm thinking I should seal this to protect it from smearing. Any advice?