Monday, January 31, 2011

My Head is Full of Ideas

I have so many ideas inside my head, sometimes it feels as if they are sprouting out the top of my head.
Along with a few vines too...

I've been working on this drawing, thinking that I may paint it on a larger canvas.
Or not.
But I am really enjoying the drawing.
Lots of silly fun to draw.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Drawing on the Road

Not to be confused with sidewalk art...
Not that  I have actually drawn ON the road...
but while on the road...

Never mind.

This is a small-ish handmade book that I have been working in.
It's the one that I carry in my bag when I go to ballgames and/or appointments where I know that I will have time to draw a little bit.
I painted the left hand page before the book was bound.
I drew on the right hand page after binding,
sitting at a basketball game.
I used Pitt Artist Pens to draw and a travel watercolor kit to paint.
You really can create artwork anywhere...
I did a post over at the "Sketchbook Challenge" blog that tells exactly which pens, paper and paint that I use in most of my journals and sketchbooks.
I do not receive any compensation for recommending these products, I use them because I love them and I am used to working with them.
You could check it out if you're interested.
I will occasionally switch things around but usually use the same three basic supplies when I sketch/draw.
I talk about those things in the article, um post.
Tomorrow I will be sharing a new drawing that I am working on.
Check back then!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Prizes! Prizes!

Don't forget to go to the Sketchbook Challenge site on Flickr before the month ends!

Here are the directions on how to use the Flickr site.

If you tag ONE of your January sketchbook page uploads with the special code (jan246) (only tag ONE photo!)
you'll be entered to win some fabulous prizes!

Do it today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Textured Journal/Sketchbook Pages

I posted yesterday about adding texture to cheap canvas fabric to jazz it up a bit.
Today I'd like to address paper as a different substrate to use with your molding paste.
I almost always use the Exact Vellum Bristol paper (67 pound) paper from Wausau. I also use a 110 pound paper from the same company. I am constantly amazed at just how much abuse the 67 weight paper can take! I wet it, emboss it (thank you Nancy!), texturize it, paint it, write on it, sew on it and just generally love the heck out of it - and it still holds up!

Today this is what I have done so far.
I added a layer of light molding paste, using my fingertips and palate knife to add texture to it.
Let this dry completely.
I noticed that, on a couple of areas of the page I had added more molding paste than others areas, causing the page to become wavy. This doesn't always bother me in my sketchbooks/journals but this day it did.
So I grabbed another page of the same paper and stitched them together. I also stitched around each indiviual section of the folded page to add more interest. This would later prove to be a great design bonus.
I used my Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints to make a wash. I applied the first color in a very random manner. It really doesn't matter with the color combo that I used which one goes on first, as I went over the entire page a couple of times. In this example, I used Phthalo Blue(Green Shade) and Phthalo Green(Blue Shade). There are a couple of areas that you may be able to see a shimmery sheen on the front of the page. These areas have a little bit of a pearlescent liquid acrylic ink. The color is "waterfall green". Like I said, I like to use whatever is within reach on my studio table...
You can see the machine stitching on the page as well. I use the stitch as a drawing tool. It's not necessarily about the actual sewing process but the texture that the stitch provides for me.

Here is where the bonus of adding the stitch BEFORE painting comes in -

Look at how the paint has seeped through the holes made by the needle and thread! Isn't that a great look for the back of that page?!  I like it. 
I hope that I can remember this in the future and use it in a more conscious manner instead of accidently benefiting from it...
Although that is nice too!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Texture on Fabric

There are a lot of different ways to obtain texture on fabric. I've been experimenting (again) with different mediums.
Below are several photos of the results.

I started out with a medium weight canvas fabric. Cheap canvas. No need to experiment with the expensive stuff, huh?

I applied a thin to medium coat (apx.1/16" to 1/8") of molding paste and used different "tools" (i.e. fingers, baby wipes, crunched up paper) to obtain the texture on the wet paste.

Let this dry.

I used various Golden fluid acrylic paints to add washes of color.
Click on the pictures to see the detail.

It's just awesome to see how much texture you can get and how the paint really catches on the hills and valleys of the molding paste. I used "light" molding paste so I could sew through it later.

And yes, your machine can handle it ...  as long as it not TOO thick... and it would probably sew through a lot more than what you think anyway. (My hubby  just has to clean the machine a little more frequently)

You can see the frayed edges of the canvas material in this photo.

Here's a close-up of one section of the piece. I just love the colors!

This next photo is of a piece of paper that I used.  I actually started out covering paper and switched to fabric. The results will be just about the same with either one. I use paper and fabric interchangeably in my work anyway.

This is the same narrow piece of fabric from above.
My favorite area is in the center of it . The texture is just amazing,
as well as the flexibility of the entire piece of fabric!

I hope this will encourage you to experiment with different ways to approach your art making.
You just have to be willing to ask yourself this question
"Gee, I wonder what would happen if I did this?"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Left handed Birds

Now, who has ever heard of a left handed bird?!
Me either...
What I meant was that I drew these birds using my left hand (non dominant).
I saw where Jane LaFazio and her art buds posted pictures of drawings that they did of each other using their non dominant hand...
I thought I'd post the little birdies that I drew on my recent trip to Nashville.
The wobble-ness in a couple of the sketches could be the bumpy road -
or it could be my left hand drawing wobble-ness.
Either way, here ya go.
Left hand Birds.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Making It Your Own

You always hear people saying "Make it your own..."
That means taking something that you see, that you like
using the inspiration from it to draw your own interpretation of it.
Like this tree I drew.

It was inspired by this tree from the latest Papaya catalog.
Not exactly like it but close-
It has the "flavor" of the Papaya (catalog) tree.
I looked for the artist of this piece but couldn't find it in the catalog.
I love the shape of the tree.

So, find something that you love-
a shape, a color, a texture-
and create a piece of art from it.
But, make it your own.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pen, Paper and Ligers

My husband and I drove to Nashville TN this past weekend for the NCAA Umpire Clinic.
He is a college baseball umpire.
I had several hours of riding time to entertain myself (as well as my sweetie!).
I have thought about the "Sketchbook Challenge" quite a bit the last couple of weeks.
Thinking of this month's theme by Jill Berry.
Even though my family is my most highly prized treasure,
I was trying to think of other things that were highly prized.
One of the things we humans tend to prize is animals.
Both domestic and wild.
My thoughts ran to the big cats.
Those big, beautiful cats.
I love to watch them on television.
Read about them.
Look at pictures of them.
So, one of the things that I am drawing in my sketchbook is a Big Cat.
And, in true Callie (my nickname) fashion-
It's probably not going to be a traditional looking lion or tiger but, well, maybe a liger.
Below is the basic drawing that I started with.

Now, notice that it's a very simple little sketch or drawing.
No details, just plain. This is exactly how I begin all my drawings.
Very simple with clean lines.
I begin adding details, dots and lines that appear rather random.
I often use dots as a method to shade. My son (who is an awesome artist) uses a lot of cross hatching. He says that it covers more space and is much quicker than my beloved little dot.
I'm sure he is right, but I sure do love the dot, dot, dot...
Look below to see half of my drawing all detailed.
All tricked out.

Just for comparison sake, here is the entire page of the sketchbook. I've left space at the top of the page to do more drawing or to write...
maybe I'll finish the entire drawing...
maybe not.

I have another post going up on the "Sketchbook Challenge" tomorrow.
Be sure and check in at the site everyday!
We have another artist interview up today.
I don't have her book but am planning on checking it out after reading the interview.
I hope that you all are doing well.
We're back home (Piedmont SC) with about 7 inches of fluffy snow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vidoe Tutorial

Check out the first video in a series by Melanie Testa
over at the Sketchbook Challenge blog!

I was remiss in posting an entry the first of the month
announcing the very first theme in our new challenge.

Check this post out -
"Highly Prized" is the theme by Jill Berry.

Don't forget to join the Flicker site and follow these instructions to win really awesome prizes!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Revisiting an Old Friend

A few blog posts ago,
I was strung out on sewing with some of the fabric I made with
deconstructive screen printing.
I neglected to post the last piece that I made during that whirl of inspiration.

I didn't want to use the pieces of fabric with bold colors
on the smaller items that I was making (I'm saving them for a bigger bag!)
but I had a couple of pieces of fabric that had very pale colors
that would be great for a small bag.

I used one piece of pale fabric
along with a scrap of hand dyed batik
(and batting of course) to make my quilt sandwich.
I did some free motion quilting along with a poppy shape
(I know! I know! I'm trying to wean off that shape...)
and a little odd shaped leaf motif.

I rolled white paint (along with textile medium)
onto the back side of the quilted area.

I wasn't sure which side I would like the best
but at this point I was just experimenting.
I painted the poppy and leaf shapes
with a colored textile paint
to make them pop.

After deciding (okay - agonizing) over which side I liked the best,
I made a very simple bag shape.

I added a binding around the top edge and zig zagged the inside seams.

Then I added some shiny beads (for the magpie in me)
and hand stitching along the top edge.

I plan on going back and adding a button and loop closure
and maybe a carrying strap later.

It's a great size for my field sketching/watercolor set
and I plan on using it for that.

In this photo you can see
that it could almost be reversible with the
painting on both sides.

I love the color combinations.

I also love the marks on the side of this
that were made with the deconstructive screen printing method.
I think that I will definitely be doing more of this in the future.

See how the stitch lines show up so well when you roll paint on top of your quilted fabric?
If you're like me and you're afraid that you will mess up a large quilted item,
why don't you experiment with a small piece like I did?

Here is the front of the small bag
(which, btw, measures about 5 1/2"x7" and is apx.1" deep)
with my awkward stitching on it.

I'm not very good at free motion quilting
but practice really does make a difference.

Won't you try something new this year?
Try combining several art forms into one...
I used screen printing, sketching (or drawing), art quilting,
fabric painting and sewing.
Oh, beading and hand embroidery.

I hope that you will exercise your creativity
on a daily basis this year.

I plan on doing just that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cleaning up Your Art Making Equipment...

This evening I was sewing away, making my sketchbook for the "Sketchbook Challenge"
(yeah, I finally made my mind up on which one to use - a new one!)  when I broke a needle.


Put in a new one.

Change to a heavier thread (I'm trying to be breve with thread this year!) (I was trying an embroidery thread) when I broke another needle.


Change the needle, try a different type this time.

Noticed that my stitch wasn't "right".

Re thread, try again.

It still didn't look quite right so I thought I'd take a look under my throat plate...

Now, my sweetie keeps my machine clean for me - he does a great job too
but I've been so busy the past few months making books that I've been a little slack in asking him to clean it for me.

I've been sewing paper, upholstery fabric, heavy coated fabric, get the picture.

So I looked under the plate and


Dust, paper dust, fabric dust, dust bunnies and their extended families!

I called my handy man in to help me.

I told him that I had been sewing paper.
And heavy upholstery fabric.
And coated fabric.

I'm standing there watching him clean my dirty, dirty machine and I saw this whitish, particle stuff around the bobbin case.

I asked "Eww. What is that?"

Sweetie "I don't know baby. It looks like plastic."

Silence for about 10 seconds.

Me "Well, I have been sewing plastic too."


The moral of this story is that if you sew all those things on your sewing machine
you really should clean it REGULARLY.


(Addendum - after the extensive cleaning she is sewing great!)
Happy New Year!