Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Iowa Blizzard December 2009

You may have been following the current blizzard on the Weather Channel, but there is nothing like living through it... the sound of the wind howling, the furnace running more frequently to keep the house warm. I'm wearing wool socks with warm shoes and have cuddle duds on under my jeans. Our house is pretty tight with the new windows and siding we installed in 2008. But it's still chilly. Could it be because almost all I can see when I look out the windows is white? I'm staying in today and hopefully there will be a Christmas letter done before the day ends. What would you do with a snow day?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Art on Display in Marshalltown

Yesterday a good friend helped me install my new art exhibit. There are now 38 of my works on display at the Fisher Community Center's auditorium in Marshalltown, Iowa. They will be up until January 5, 2010.

My exhibit is being hosted by the Central Iowa Art Association. The Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce is located in the same building and can be contacted at (641)753-6645. Call ahead to be sure the auditorium is open for viewing. The Fisher Impressionist Collection is also housed in this facility and is worth a trip to Marshalltown to experience.

It was a satisfying experience to see so many of my paintings on display at one time. I have several interests and like to try different techniques. I wondered if I would have a cohesive exhibit in the months leading up to this show.

I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed when we unpacked all my paintings yesterday morning. Where to start? What to put in which location? (There is one full wall and three partial walls to hang art on.) Then I remembered how we organized the art wall in Cherokee at the Sanford Museum earlier this year when we sorted paintings by predominant color. That's what we did again and it worked out just fine.

Last night an opening reception was hosted by the CIAA. I was so blessed to have some family and old friends come. A few community members stopped by. I think the busy holiday season and the frigid temperatures kept many of the usual art lovers away. More family and friends are planning special trips to view the exhibit. I am grateful for the interest shown in my work. It was very encouraging to me.

Lastly, many thanks go to my supportive and helpful husband.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Hope Journal Entries

I packed up my journal kit before heading out for our Thanksgiving travels. I hadn't worked in my "HOPE" journal for several weeks. Over the past several months, I used up odds and ends of paint from other projects to give several pages a base color.
For the above page, I cut up strips from a greeting card catalog and adhered them with a glue stick as Hubby drove along the interstate. Then I added sharpie pen and white marker accents to the border I created. Last night I painted the word hope with Golden fluid acrylic. When it was dry, I added the same marker accents plus some metallic gel pen.

This page had some Golden absorbent ground mixed with cobalt teal paint that I smeared on with a palette knife. While it was still damp, I pressed a tree stamp into the ground. That was done several months ago.
I found that Prismacolor Pencils work WONDERFULLY on this ground. I had to use very little pressure to lay down color. It was easy to add multiple layers of color. I used a Pitt brush marker for the lettering. I worked on this page while my brother-in-law prepared breakfast. It was relaxing to color while we chatted about family.
I keep a folder with hope quotes in my journaling tote. That makes it easy to find inspiration for my pages.
It had been my intention to work on this journal more frequently this year & thought it would be complete long ago. But it was nice to have this to come back to after spending so much time on other things. I haven't selected a topic for next year. I might not until I get this journal done.

Grade A Sunset

I wish I could say I saw the "A" in the sky when I was shooting this pic! As hubby drove south on I-35 last Saturday, I loved all the texture created by the clouds, so I grabbed my digital camera and hoped for the best. While reviewing my shots, I saw that I had captured jet trails that formed an "A".
It was an "A" day after spending some great time with family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Marshalltown Art Exhibit Publicity

I found out that our local newspaper ran an article and picture on the front page publicizing my upcoming art exhibit. This is a picture Hubby took of me in late summer. The CIAA (Central Iowa Art Association) requested a photo of me with my art.
Just in case you missed my earlier post, there is an opening reception this coming Friday, Dec. 4th from 5:30 - 7:30 in Marshalltown, Iowa at the Fisher Community Auditorium on Center St.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Zen Garden Mural Progress Report

The ground below the tree and water features are the next to be painted. When Hubby took this shot last night, the work light was pointed to the left which is why the wall color is uneven from left to right.

I have mentioned before that my husband is super-supportive. He even helped with this mural by removing some stray brush marks for me. First we dampen the area with water. Then we use a cotton swab and a dab of waterless hand sanitizer to gently remove the paint. This works well with thin layers of paint that have not cured for more than a day or two.

Oh yeah! I'm sitting on a footstool, and my hair is partially French-braided to keep it out of my face. I've grown so accustomed to having paint on my hands that I showed up at church last Sunday with mossy rock colors on my hand. Argh! A cool trick I recently learned is to use waterless hand sanitizer and a paper towel to remove acrylic paint from my hands (which led to the tip explained above.) Apparently I was so tired when cleaning up on Saturday night that I forgot that step. Usual hand washing doesn't remove the lingering acrylic film, especially on the fingernails. I know matte fingernail polish is in vogue right now, but I don't think this is what stylists have in mind. ;-)

Come to Art Reception 12-04-09

Who? Regina Gansen Rooks
What? Art Exhibit Opening Reception
Where? Fisher Community Center, 709 S Center St., Marshalltown, IA
When? Friday, December 4, 2009; 5:30 - 7:00

I hope you will come if you are in the area. Thirty-four of my paintings will be on exhibit through the month of December. If you are a follower of this blog, you know I paint a variety of subjects from abstract to floral and landscapes. Most works will be acrylic, but there will also be some transparent watercolor paintings.

The exhibit is hosted by the Central Iowa Art Association. I am thrilled to have been invited to showcase my art.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zen Garden Mural Update

I've made some progress on the mural since my last post. After contouring most of the major branches, I tried painting a few leaves. I was inspired by a Russian Olive tree growing near our nephew's dorm. Painting the leaves is relaxing to me. I was happy to find I could use a green straight from the bottle. The rest of the colors I've used so far are mixes.
I also added some detail to the ground under the tree by painting the suggestion of some rocks. It's probably the most difficult part of the project since I have to sit on the floor while painting this area. It's helpful to have a second pair of eyes sitting across the room while I work. I'm hoping to recruit my husband for the next painting session for this section. He gave me input while I worked on contouring the main trunk and branches.
Thanks to all who have encouraged me with your wonderful comments. I am very grateful for your support. xo

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zen Garden Mural Beginning Stages

Following is a peak at my latest project. I'm painting a mural in the reception area of a massage therapy business in Ames called Zen Garden.

Water soluble graphite was a great choice for drawing the design on the wall. It is easily removed with a damp cloth. Most of the paint I'm using is Liquitex Soft Body. I mix it with Liquitex Matte Medium at about 50%.
Stayed tuned for updates.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

GPP Crusade No. 34

Collage of elements from my experiments on black paper.
When this Green Pepper Press challenge was announced, I was excited about the possibilities and wanted to explore ideas I have for working on black backgrounds. Earlier this summer I painted a design on black for my husband and have wanted to do more. But it's been a busy month with other priorities. I didn't know if I would get to follow through.
I decided to tear 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of black cardstock in half. Late in the evening I would spend a few minutes trying different media on the paper. It's the end of the month and I have a collection of papers to show for it. I plan to bind them into a journal.

I monoprinted and stamped white gesso on some pages. When dry, I experimented with adding color using opaque watercolor, water soluble oil pastel, and stamping. The gesso was very porous and the colors were very muted on it.

Opaque watercolor and soft pastels were worked directly on black paper with more dramatic results.

Metallic pigment markers were used on glossy black cardstock. I also used them to ink a rubber stamp which is the butterfly in the collage above. The shimmery quality of these images doesn't show up well in the photos.

I used masks and applied soft pastel to a page for dragonflies. I stamped with white chalk ink over hand-shaped masks. I scumbled white gesso around the hands to make them stand out against the page better.

These are among my favorites. I used heavy body acrylic paint - regular and metallic. Paint was applied with a brayer. The papers on the right and the left have been stamped as well. I used acrylic paint on the stamps.
I made notes with more ideas on another black page using a metallic gel pen. I bought black illustration board with the intention of cutting it into covers for the journal, but I cut pieces for new artworks instead. I have already started a new work on one of the pieces.
[I will NOT be pursuing art pieces on this black illo board because the top layer of paper began to delaminate when I put juicy washes of color on the gesso base coat.]
This was a great idea for a challenge. I learned a lot and now have a new set of inspirations to work from. I found that a few minutes spent on a consistent basis will turn into more than I could have imagined. Thanks Michelle!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Homeward Bound

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
Let Your glory be over all the earth.

This is the latest painting that I completed. It's been mostly done for a few weeks. I joined a critique group earlier this month and picked up a couple tips to improve the composition. After taking time to consider the ideas, I tweaked the painting a bit, added varnish coats and now it is ready to be installed in a black frame similar to the black border I added to the digital image you see here. The acrylic painting is on an 18" x 24" canvas panel.

The painting started out with a completely different idea in mind. I painted a mottled blue violet background on which I printed white gesso with plastic canvas circles. To soften the circles, I applied filmy layers of gesso with cheese cloth. At this point my original concept was abandoned. I started to see clouds and my inspiration took off. I imaged traveling through the universe to heaven. That's why I named the painting Homeward Bound.

What else have I been up to? I exhibited jewelry and paintings in Marshalltown and Nevada earlier this month. It's a lot of work, but the reward is meeting people who appreciate art. Next week I will start painting a mural that has been in the planning stage for the past several weeks. I have been working out the composition and color scheme. Check back for an update on the project.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to School - GPP Crusade No. 33

Michelle Ward has encouraged the Green Pepper Press Street Team to share what we are learning for our latest crusade. Being a curious person, I'm always learning. There are usually art books or magazines beside my favorite chair and beside my bed.
When I start a painting, I've been trying to remember to keep a record of the paints I use in a watercolor tablet. I learn what colors to mix for desirable combinations. This visual record can become the jumping off point for a new project. I'm learning that the tablet is an important tool for projects that are laid aside. When I return to the painting, the record helps me go back to the correct paint colors. Another lesson learned... if I DO NOT record my paints is bad. There is a painting that I will need to run color trials before I can work on it again since I don't remember exactly which paints I used and it's not a typical color palette for me.

Inspired by the book "Creative Computer Tools for Artists", I have been using my camera and Photoshop Elements to help me develop some of my paintings in progress. This image is an edited version of a wooden drawing model I photographed. I eliminated the model's stand and the background. I wanted to see if a figure in this pose would work on a painting in progress. After opening an image of the painting in PS Elements, I copied the model's image and pasted it on to a new layer of the painting's image. I could easily resize the model and move it around for placement.
This exercise was very helpful and much less stressful than adding an element to a very developed painting when I wasn't sure it would work.

I made progress on other paintings this past week because of my digital try outs. By using a translucent layer over an image of the painting, I could test the results of adding a glaze to adjust values. Next, I used the 'eraser' to remove the virtual glaze in areas I want to keep in the foreground. I was able to approach my painting with more confidence and did not worry that I would regret glazing over some of my lighter values.

Later, I photographed the adjusted painting. Because the painting has many hues, I made grey scale versions of the earlier photograph and the new one. In grey scale, I could more easily see that I had successfully adjusted the values.

There is another painting that is in its early stages, and I really liked how it looked. The problem was that I wasn't quite sure what to do next. After uploading a photo of the painting, I digitally painted more layers. I printed the results which I am using as a guide.

I hope to become more proficient with PS Elements through these exercises. There is a lot for me to learn about using digital brushes and I am excited about the prospects.

Have you used digital editing to help you with your painting progress?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Painting Progress

Just a portion of a 16 x 20 acrylic painting in progress.
This is on illustration board and I had a completely different painting in mind when I started it. Long story short, I blew the first concept and was inspired by a different idea and colors which covered up the original work very well. There are thick & thin layers of heavy body acrylic, heavy clear gel, fluid colors and airbrush paint. I am contemplating my finishing touches and hope to finish the painting in the next week.

This is a portion of a 4 x 4 work on canvas. The painting is one of four that work together. After base painting the canvas, I added a Golden texture paste. It's been long enough that I don't remember which one, but it is absorbant. It may be fiber paste. I let the canvases sit several weeks and just started adding colors to them this week. This is another project I hope to wrap up in this coming week.

I have two opportunities to display and sell my work in early October. I will have a display in a business, yet to be revealed, at the Marshalltown Art Walk '09 on October 8th. On Saturday, October 10th, I will once again have a tent at Nevada Uncorked - a wine and art event. More details to follow soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Inspired by Hydrangeas

The days are getting shorter, and there are signs that it won't be long before our gardens turn brown. But for now, the last surge of glory can be found. The hydrangea shrub at my in-laws was weighed down with bundles of blooms last weekend when we were visiting.
I used Photoshop Elements to alter one of the images I took. After cropping, I removed the color (making it b&W). Next I applied the watercolor filter. Then I added a green color filter.

I missed my blog anniversary last month & plan to celebrate somehow in the near future. I also hope to post more regularly in the coming days & weeks. I took a break from painting while my back was giving me trouble this summer. After following a new physical therapy regimen, I can stand at my art table again. It's been a rough start for me. Painting flows best for me when I can work with it on a regular basis. I have to be reminded of some of its nuances that are forgotten when I don't paint.

I have been drawing sketches to prepare for a mural project I'll be painting this fall. I'll keep you posted once I get started. This is an exciting challenge for me... my biggest "canvas" so far.

There are a couple of exhibits coming up in October, and I'll share more on them later, too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reasons to Celebrate Art

My how time has flown by since my last post. In addition to working A LOT at my regular paying job, I've had some art events to celebrate.

Hubby & I went to the opening reception at the Iowa State Fair's Cultural Center on Tuesday evening. It's a special time to preview the Fine Arts exhibit before the fair openned on Thursday. Awards were distributed to winners. I was pleased to find my painting in a prominent and well-lit position this year. I enjoyed mingling with fellow artists and their families.

After the reception, we had a late dinner in the East Village area of downtown Des Moines. The Continental has plenty of atmosphere and delicious food. It was a wonderful way to celebrate.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GPP Crusade No. 32 - Knock Yourself Off

The above is my latest attempt at melding my scanned artwork with Photoshop Elements text and editing. I was inspired by the GPP Street Team's latest challenge. Read on for more info-

In an earlier GPP Crusade, I played with circles. Lots & lots of circles.
The following is acylic paint on rice paper. I like it very much, but it needs to be with something.
This is a page from my visual journal from January 2009. I used permanent marker and watercolors on watercolor paper. One of my goals is to improve my faces.
Last week I sketched this face. (Both were drawn from my imagination.) After roughing her in with graphite on watercolor paper, I inked her face with a Pitt Pen. Next I added color using Caran d'Ache Neocolor II (watersoluble crayons) which were applied using a water reservoir brush. This is such a neat procedure that I paint while sitting in my recliner in front of the TV.
I can see that I'm making progress with faces. But won't it be fun to keep working on them?
To challenge myself more, I decided to digitally layer the portrait with the circles page. I learned a few new tricks in PS Elements as I worked through the process. I'd like to revisit more of my simple pages to see what I can do with them. Now that Michelle has extended the deadline for this challenge, I may try to work on new ideas that have formed.
I chose the Scripture verse because it was part of a passage read at the funeral of a dear friend last week. I've been pondering it much since then. Our friend lived a long and full life. So many lives were touched in a wonderful way because of her. She had marked this passage in her Bible and she truly was a wise woman.
I'm blessed to have known her.

My heart is not black, but THIS one is!

New in my Etsy shop! Check out this Black Onyx and Sterling Silver Necklace.

Matching earrings are available in a separate listing.These onyx beads are interesting because they have varying amounts of opacity and translucency.

I've been experimenting with some different photography props. The necklace is laid on a mirror for the shot in this post. I have mixed feelings about the image. The mirror aided in showing the stones' translucency. The reflected image may be confusing. I included other images in my Etsy post that did not use the mirror.
It's a challenge to create clear images for Etsy that will draw attention. My latest jewelry designs have been mostly neutral colors, which adds to the challenge.
Do you have any thoughts on the subject?
And one last thing - a new Picture Jasper Bracelet that is also in my RGR Designs Etsy Store.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Card Party Charm Bracelet & News

As promised, I added a few items to my Etsy store today. I will be adding more this coming week.

I also promised to make an announcement this week. Thanks for your reminders in the comments some of you left. I almost forgot my promise. My mind has been elsewhere this week. We said our final goodbye to a very dear friend who has gone on to Heaven. Our thoughts have been with her family.

So - what was I holding back on? A couple of things -

1. My painting "Golden Harvest" will be displayed at the Iowa State Fair in the Fine Arts competition. I am THRILLED! We are looking into making prints.

2. I am closing in on my 200th blog post and the 2nd anniversary of this blog. Keep your eyes on this blog for give aways in the upcoming days/weeks. I added a follower button that you can see on the right hand column. Have you signed up yet?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Glorious Day for an Art Fest!

Wonderful weather and a beautiful setting.
It couldn't get much bettter. My tent was right across the driveway from this pond.

The wind was calm which made setting up the tent and display wall go smoothly.
My sister came to help Hubby & me. She's a God-send!

A trickle of people started coming first thing in the morning.

There was a steady flow of people through the day.

The trees made the site feel like a park. Music filled the air.

The delicious aroma of food wafted on the breeze.

Many items I posted last week have sold. Look for new items in my Etsy store later this week.

Thanks to all who prayed for us & sent their good wishes!