Friday, March 29, 2013

Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

I have just finished an art project that was created specifically for donation to a very worthy cause.
Check out the "Kick Off Your Heels" fundraiser that Sue Bleiweiss and Jamie Fingal started.
I can't wait to see the shoes that were created just for this!

I tend to work on a couple of things at a time and did during the time that I was working on the art shoes for the fundraiser.
Here's a peek at one of the plaster/joint compound pieces that I made.

I love the way that the surface accepts the paint differently
based on how much sanding I do or what resists I use.
I really am enjoying playing around with this medium.

This is what started it all.

I've had the book for a long time (almost a year) but only picked it back up several months ago.
Of course I do the same thing that I always through it, start a project thinking that I will go by the instructions in the book for a couple of projects only to find myself veering off after the first step or two.
But that is a good thing too - I create my own work most of the time. It's way too easy to create artwork that really isn't your own if you never jump off of the page in a book, or put down a workshop instruction booklet...

I keep thinking of ways that I can use this medium. I've got a book cover (or two) on my work table as well as several small mixed media canvas panels going.
I've started another 3D piece as well as the triptych that I am continuing to look at during all of this.



Allowing the art itself to speak to me.

It's sometimes difficult for me to quiet all of the "other" chatter in my head and just listen.

So I spend a lot of time just looking and thinking.

And Listening.

Are you listening to your inner voice? Or are you trying to wrestling control away from your intuition?
(you will beef up the wrong muscles if you do this)

You gotta flex YOUR creative muscle!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's On Your Table Today?

I'm working with items that I found on walks, kayaking trips, bike rides or just being outside, enjoying Nature.

Here's a few of them. Be sure and click on the photo so you can see the details of the white feather.

Bird feathers, tree bark, worn turtle shell

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pier Sketching

I sat under the shelter at the end of the pier at Shem Creek Park, watching people come and go,
kids run and play, fishermen (and women) fishing, gulls flying and people just enjoying each other and the lovely weekend weather in Charleston SC.

Here is a sampling of the people that I watched.

Lots of kids, women with buns and fisher-women.

This man fished all day long without catching anything.
That, my friend, is dedication.
(or as he said "It's just what a fisherman does.")

Pardon the shadow on the page.
I scanned the page and the book is getting
pretty full.
As you can see, everyone was looking out to the Harbor. I was sitting behind them looking the same way.
Nothing like spending a day listening to the birds, looking at the ocean and doing some urban sketching.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Charleston Pier Sketching

I had the pleasure of going to Charleston SC this past weekend with my husband.
He was busy umpiring a baseball game so I had a little free time on my hands.

I wandered over to Shem Creek Park (in Mt. Pleasant) to do a little walking, people watching, meditating with Nature and sketching.

I made a book a while back that I call "The Charleston Book".
I try to carry it with me every time that we go to Charleston. I journal, sketch or add little bits of ephemera that catch my fancy.

"The Green Fan"
Robert Henri

I used heavy decorator textiles on the cover
to make it nice and thick.

I love the image in the front of the book. It's "The Green Fan" oil painting by Robert Henri.
Gibbs Art Museum in Charleston owns the original and it is truly spectacular.
It measures 41" x 33".
It is one of my favorite paintings.
I printed it on a nubby fabric (old curtain sheers from my mom's house) so it gives the cover an old time-worn look.
I used several scrapes of heavy decorator fabric that really gives the cover a nice heft to it.Hand dyed vintage lace for the spine.
The back cover is a truly handmade concoction of mine.
It looks and feels like leather but is a mixture of molding paste, acrylic gels and acrylic paint.
It is not only supple and flexible but it is sturdy enough to travel with me as I wander about.

I dyed a batch of vintage lace that belonged to my grandmother and used it as an embellishment for the spine.
I had a few yards of this beautiful green waxed linen thread that I stitched the signatures into the book with.

Next time I will show you the sketches that I did while wandering around on Shem Creek.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Journal!

Imagine my surprise this past week when I opened my mailbox to find a free book!

As a participant in Sue Bleiweiss' book "The Sketchbook Challenge", the Director of Publicity (Kim Small) for Potter Craft sent me a copy of "The Sketchbook Project Journal: More Than 300 Ways to Fill a Page" to enjoy.

Amazon says that "The Sketchbook Project is a guided sketchbook that offers the project's annual prompts and themes (as well as never before published prompts) posted on their website that participants of the project use for inspiration. The companion sketchbook also includes specific references to the digitized library for further sketching and doodling ideas. Meant as a precursor to the actual Sketchbook Project, this journal helps to get the creative juices flowing and references an impressive global community of artists."

Carol says that it's got a lot of blank space to doodle, draw and write in.
You can also customize the cover as the red cover you see above is actually a dust jacket just waiting to be removed so that your doodles can escape the inside pages to the outside pages.
The pages are not numbered but Amazon assures me that there are 192 pages to spill your creative guts on.
It's a great size as well- 7.4" x 9". Perfect for dropping into your sketching bag or leaving on your studio work table.

I can't wait to get started in my copy!
(I do not receive any compensation for your purchase, I'm just passing along a new & interesting product!)

Thanks again Kim!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Birds of a Feather

I am thrilled to be teaching a class at  THE Art & Soul Retreat in Virginia Beach Virginia this year.
It's a fun mobile class where we will be learning several things like this (but not limited to this!)
*designing one of a kind fabric with hand drawn Thermofax screens (screen printing)
*several beading techniques to embellish the birds
*embellishing techniques on driftwood (paint &/or thread wrapping)
*techniques to weight a mobile to achieve balance
*different ways to create a 3d bird (something besides the traditional stuffing material!)
*demonstrations on crocheting wings and adding beads to your crochet!
*alternate materials to make wings out of
and who knows what else!

lots of beading techniques

different options for wings

demonstrations of crocheting with beads!

lots of painting, beading and thread wrapping

ideas for balance on your mobile

There is always a lot of laughter in my classes as I believe that that is the best way to learn - in a relaxed and accepting atmosphere...and what is more relaxing than laughter?

I know that there are tons of online classes to choose from but if you have never been to a "real" art retreat before, you are missing something!
It's at these retreats that you meet people that will become lifelong friends.
They understand your creative drive, your odd ideas and would never divulge your retreat secrets.
And when you are able to learn with hand-on help...nothing beats that, now does it?
And being in a group allows you to see how many people do the same thing differently because sometimes you just don't understand what the teacher is talking helps to hear or see it from a different perspective, doesn't it?
I love the camaraderie that develops within the group, the sisterhood of the traveling art retreat...

And Art & Soul is THE original retreat.
The one that all of the other retreats model themselves after.
And for a good reason - it works.
It delivers what people go there looking for - creative energy, like minded peeps and an opportunity to learn a craft or an art technique from experienced teachers.

I'll add some photos of the class that I am teaching this year at Virginia Beach.
Won't you come and join me there?

surface design in the form of screen printing 

lots of different wing screens

playing with painting ideas

lovely driftwood embellishment

painting a plain bird

beautiful bold colors

or you could draw on your bird!

a lovely twisted bead tail

great uses for tiny pieces of driftwood

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More Experiments

Drawing into plaster & molding paste.

The beginning of many layers of glazes of acrylic paint.
I've been playing around with molding paste & plaster the past couple of weeks.
I love adding acrylic glazes then sanding part of it off so I can add more glaze.

Experimental play is good for the creative muscles.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mixed Media Fiber Art Play

Adding stitch to a mixed media fiber surface.

Trying out different acrylic pastes on top of canvas.
I love adding stitch to mixed media artwork.
I am currently playing around with molding paste, acrylic paint and heavy duty thread on top of canvas.

The above samples are of  pure, unadulterated play.
Which is awesome for the creative muscles.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Combined Natural Surfaces

(this is being posted to the Sketchbook Challenge blog today also!)

One of the things that I love about hiking is that you have time to look at the world around you.
Really look.
We tend to miss so many of the little things because we are so focused on the big ones, thus losing out on a myriad of visual pleasures.
I have a folder on my computer that holds hundreds of photos that I have taken while hiking, kayaking or camping. The vast majority of the photos are not sweeping landscape shots but macro shots of tiny mushrooms, lush emerald moss or grains of sand that are clustered onto a dried creek bed.
Kind of like this -

A tiny little world growing on top of a moss covered rock

Long hair moss among the short

Looks like acres of emerald moss but it's really on a six inch rock

Alien growth stretches from a skinny limb

Love, love the textured tree trunks of my favorite
forest by the river

Be sure to enlarge this one

Dry creek bed

Not necessarily a natural surface but certainly
has been altered by natural forces

The peeling paint is a perfect surface to try out
some crackle paint

I wanted to create a panel for a triptych that I am working on based on the combined attributes of these natural surfaces.
Even though it isn't a drawing or sketching, I thought that you all might be interested in it just the same.

It is a combination of plaster, joint compound, molding paste, acrylic paint and crackle paste.
Oh, not to mention the fabric that is underneath all of that - vintage lace, canvas, tulle and organza.

6" x 8 1/2"

All of those crevices in the surface look
just like the rocks, compacted soil and tree trunks in the
photos above

I love the way that the fibers work their way up
to the top after sanding the surface

Lovely, unexpected surprises

I added crackle paste after I took most of the
photos above. I may go back and add more.

I hope that you've enjoyed the trip through my "natural surface" photo album.
And the beginnings of a new piece of art work - a triptych that will be based on one of the sweetest spots in Nature that I know of.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paperclay Birdies

I thought that I would update you on the Paperclay birdies that I made a couple of weeks ago.
I needed a few small birds for a piece of artwork that I was planning. I decided that the easiest thing to do would be to create them myself.
It was easy but potentially addictive.

First I created the birds by hand.
Plain white birds - like tiny soldiers waiting for their marching orders.

Some of them have perfectly formed eyes & beaks...
others do not.

The largest one is about 1/2" long

I was distracted by several other things (bronchitis and flu to name a couple) so it took me a couple of weeks to get to the next step.

Oh look, someone was watching us! 

I coated the birds with a little bit of Soft Gel to seal them.
Then I used a little bit of acrylic paint in a brown color to rub into the lines on the birds (eyes, wings, etc).
This has to dry completely before you paint the final color.

The bird on the left was created from Crayola Model Magic.
It doesn't firm up the way that Paperclay does.

Sitting there waiting on the next layer of paint.
When the paint has dried completely, I used a small paintbrush to apply the top layer of paint.
Some of them are a cream color, some are brown, some are blue. This step could be done by finger-painting as well.
Little Bird Family
 I used a tiny bit of orange to paint the beaks.
After all of this had dried, I went back and added more brown to the line work as needed.
If you click on the photos to enlarge them, you will be able to see how the brown paint settled into the uneven surface of the bird.
It creates a lovely antique look to the surface of the bird making them appear to be decades older than what they are.
Made from Paperclay

Mommy is keeping an eye on her babies

See how tiny they are?!
The Paperclay is not expensive at all.
It's a fun and easy activity to do that requires very little materials and not a lot of time.
I'd love to see what you do with it!