Friday, January 18, 2013

Experimenting (or "The Way That I Work")

I don't know about you, but when I begin playing around with different products or techniques I tend to get lose track of time.
I forget about doing things that I was supposed to do (like laundry, dishes, dinner, showering) (eew).
It's me and my studio.
Oh, and the mess that is in that studio.

I have been working on the bird mobiles and took a break to go to an Icon exhibit at a local art gallery.
The paintings are just wonderful.
Time worn panels of wood  that were showing their age.
Limited palettes that said so much.
My original thought was to sketch while I was in there...but I couldn't when I got there
(this is going to sound crazy) but I almost felt that it would be a sacrilege to do that.
I know, I know.
But the very air within that exhibit was laden with a sense of holiness.
Did you know that the early creators of these Icons did not even sign their names? They felt that this would detract from the subject of the painting.
It was about the Icon...not the painter.

I was so inspired by the backgrounds in these painting (some from the 14th century!).
While I didn't want to start painting this type of subject, the look of the background (esp. the edges of the panels) fascinated me.
As soon as I had a minute (and when I could no longer stand to wait), I pulled out a few pieces of fabric and paper to do some experimenting.
I had one piece from a previous experiment that I really liked. So I grabbed all of the materials I used on that sample to start another one.
And it went on like this for a few days.
I taped small pieces of paper or fabric to my work table and layered paint/crackle paste/glazes in different order to see what type of results I got.
Here's some of my experiments (all samples, not "beautiful" per se but excellent learning vehicles).

Perfect creepy crackles for that, um, creepy thing.

One of my favorite experiments!
Crackled birds!
You had to know that was coming...

Two different crackle mediums with soft gel over the top of them.
You can see the huge crackles under the gel on the left.

Many, many layers of stuff.

The blue around the edges is painters tape.
Gotta hold your fabric/paper down or the crackling
will distort it.

Big, baked earth crackles

Tiny dino skin crackles

Thin layers over collage

More mad scientist experiments 

Love the bird with collage material underneath

Next, I'll add some color to that baby!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Abstract Drawing Tutorial

This is being published at the Sketchbook Challenge blog as well.

Hi everyone!
Carol Sloan here.
I thought that I'd give you all a short (but sweet) tutorial on another abstract doodle type (doodlish?) drawing.
I had a couple of doctor visits the past couple of weeks and (thank goodness) I was prepared to wait...and wait...and wait.
But at least I had pen, paper and plenty of ideas to pass the time.
I think that it entertained the elderly lady sitting close to me. Always glad to help with entertainment. My friends would say that I am the entertainment.

Okay - let's get going.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen.
I create the initial shape with my eyes closed. I just enjoy allowing my hand to be in charge once in a while, ya know?
Then I added a small box shape on the side. Why you ask?
Cause I felt like it.
Well, actually because I wanted a closed in space to draw a few lines inside of.
Like this -

Then I begin to fill in this random shape with circles. You could certainly use any shape you wanted to - I just love circles.
If you use a variety of sizes (of circles) your fill will be more interesting. Here is an example of what I mean.
The area at the top left is what my drawing looks like when I first begin putting circles inside the shape.
Staying on the left side but looking at the middle of the shape, you will see where I am beginning to fill in smaller circles. I add this fill until the entire shape is full OR until I tire of circles and draw something else.
Notice how this really makes the larger circles stand out.

I added a small "satellite" shape to illustrate the sizes of circles that I draw.
Now I will fill this with teeny tiny circles.
I'll show you one of the other things that I do in addition to the little circles - variety is the spice of life, right?
If you look at the last post that I did about abstract drawing, you will see that I use series of short lines to fill space as well. I place them very close to one another as well as vary the direction in which they are going.
Here's an example of what I am talking about -

I find it easier to add the circles before I fill in with line work.
And more fun.
Try adding tiny circles and lines!

This is what my drawing looks like at this point.

I'm adding more tiny details. This entire drawing is apx.4 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches.
I am drawing in one of my sketchbooks and it is rather small as well. It measures 6 3/4 inches x 4 1/2 inches.
I carry it in my purse every where I go (especially to doctor appointments!).

Now, let's move on to the rectangle shape that I added.
I decided that the drawing needed a few little curly shapes growing out of it (upper left and lower right in photo below).
You may desire to let your muse have her(or his) way as well (if she/he wants to) and add a few  interesting shapes that you can add details around later.
Next I drew a few horizontal lines across the boxed in area.
This is where the graph paper would work well. And you could add it in at this point. Just tear or cut the edges to fit around your existing drawing.

Let's make little squares out of these lines and fill them in with interesting marks.
Like this -

I have drawn a small segment of a potential fill that you may choose to draw as well. I love to create patterns from a series of simple lines.

This one is kinda messy but I think that you get the idea. It works in the small drawing above.
I draw the diagonal lines first, then add the vertical lines. It really does make a great pattern when you draw several of them together.

I'd love to see the results from your artist date (with your sketchbook)!
Please post them on Flickr so we can all be inspired from each other.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I just found out that at least one of my pieces for the "8 That Create" group show in New York (back in the fall)  is in the latest "Quilting Arts" magazine!

I completed 5 different pieces of art for the show and loved all of them.
I know that the paper dress is in the article on creating 3D pieces of artwork.
I really wanted to make a larger 3D piece but just ran out of I made a teeny tiny dress out of a sheet of handmade collage paper. I used pieces of an 1878 women's magazine about fashion.
There were drawings of the latest Paris fashions, the hats, the shoes - everything that a well dressed woman should desire.
I thought that they looked uncomfortable and cumbersome.
I suppose that I would have been a renegade back then too!
Here are some photos of the dress.
I placed it in a vintage looking shadowbox that gave the dress more of an antique look.
I used lace that my grandmother had wound around an old piece of newspaper. She always saved every little snippet of lace, ribbon and fabric for later use.
(so that's where I got that habit from!)

This is vintage lace from my grandmother's extensive stash.
She was a doll doctor as well as a quilter and maker of many other things.
I have most of the materials that she used to make doll clothes.
Lucky me, right?

I loved using the original articles from the journal.

The drawings were so interesting.

Do not fail to send for that Portfolio of Fashions, ladies!

I also used vintage netting (tulle) on the dress. I was originally going
to have a tulle skirt but didn't like the bulk that it gave the dress.
I had already sewn it on the dress so I just crunched it up
and created a belt for the dress.
"Quarterly Journal Dress"
The dress is apx. 10 inches long and 9' wide (the width of the sleeves as
they appear in the photo). I love the shadowbox frame.
It really allows the dress to be the star of the show.
I actually created another dress just like this one - the only difference is that I fused the scans of the paper onto tissue paper and then fused them to very light weight scrim.
Tissue paper!
It is so soft and feels so dainty.

The tissue paper is so thin that you can see through the dress.
Hmmmm...I guess that I need to make a slip too...

This is an original piece of vintage pattern.
I used the original instead of scanning it and printing it out.

Who besides me can't help but looking up doll dresses?

I am planning on teaching this class at "Artistic Artifacts" in Alexandria Virginia this year.
I love teaching at Judy Gula's shop - tons of room to stretch out, lots of good shopping opportunities and I just love Judy and the shop staff.
I'll post the dates on my schedule as soon as I get my butt in gear and give them a date - I mean as soon as the dates are firmed up.
If you'd like to be notified of the date, please sign up for my newsletter (the one that I promise to send out this year). Or keep an eye on the blog.
This is the first piece of art that I have had published in Quilting Arts magazine...the first of many. I have several articles just waiting to be sent in for potential publishing.
Don't forget to buy your copy of "In Stitches" volume 9 to see my article there as well!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Drawing in Public - The Abstract Way

(This blog post is being posted on The Sketchbook Challenge blog as well).

I'm hoping that the first week of the new year has been a good one for you.
Keeping busy? Drawing a little every day?


Just think, if you had given yourself the gift of drawing for five minutes the past seven days you'd be that much more comfortable in your ability.
Just try it for a couple of weeks. Be sure to keep your drawings so that you can compare them and really see the improvement that you make.

We have been talking about drawing in public so I thought I'd tell you what I do sometimes to alleviate the fear a little bit.
I often travel by plane when I teach.
I hate to just sit there (although I do like watching people in the airports) so I carry a sketchbook or loose pages to work on.
Occasionally I sketch my surroundings but most of the time I just want to make random, easy marks on the page.
This is what I do to prepare my supplies before heading out on what could also be considered an artist date (since I am enriching my mind with a creative activity).
When I use loose pages, I usually grab several sheets of watercolor paper that has already been folded.
I love to collage a scrap of graph paper onto my drawing surface with matt medium or Soft Gel (depending on how thick the graph paper is). Don't worry about where you place it on the page - just slap it down some where.
Like this -

I often forget to do this but I prefer my pages WITH graph paper on them (or some type of paper that has a grid type pattern on it).
Allow this to dry completely.
I add a dash of color with watercolors or watered down acrylics. You could use any type of supply to add a bit of color though.
One of the goals in adding the color is to allow it to travel its own path. That's why I water down the acrylics. I usually load the brush with the paint/water mix and just swipe it across the edge of the paper.
Or I make random swipes across the page.
Here are a couple of examples of how I apply the color.

Random applications along with drips of paint.

Mostly drips of watered down paint along the edge
of the page. 

These are double spread pages. Sometimes I forget to add the graph paper but I really enjoy using the grids to draw into.
The next page has a light application of either watercolor or acrylic paint on it (lots of water to encourage the drips on the page).

The following is what I did while flying back and forth to Colorado.
Easy, random marks following the lines of the paint.
Then I add a variety of marks between the paint lines.
And it ends up looking like this.

So - if you want to try drawing in public while you're on an artist date, prep a few pages the way I have shown you. It will be so much easier to draw in this abstract way.
You might be surprised at what shows itself on the page (see fish above).

Here is a page that I did add the graph paper to.
It is much easier to have those little boxes to add marks to as opposed to drawing that box yourself.

An alligator appeared on this page.
Try it and show us your results!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Building a Better Bird

What's on your table?

I'm working on building a better bird.
I have several samples for the April "Art & Soul" workshop but, true to fashion (mine, that is), I can't stop there.
(I have got to get better photos up there)
I am constantly striving to make everything "better"...perhaps I should say "different" instead, since the concept is the same.
Just different ways to get there.

There's this colorful bird -

As well as this one.

I think that most people love big bold hits of color in projects. I do too, but, I also think that understated color has its place.
I'm working on that right now.
Here's a couple of the parts and pieces of inspiration that I am using/working on/working from...

My work table looks like a stuffed bird graveyard right now.
Bodies, wings, beads, tail feathers and head dresses at all stages of completion.
Not to mention the driftwood (painted and wrapped), threads, torn pieces of fabric & trim, paint and thermofax screens.
Sounds like fun, eh?