Sunday, November 20, 2011

More Daily Art

mixed fiddler 11 14 11

I’m sticking to my schedule and I found the article that prompted this venture into mixed media.  The technique is called Wabi-sabi. 

According to the article it refers to the qualities of imperfection, aging, cycles of nature and cycles of life.  It values the same things I am drawn to: rust, patina, decay, old stone walls with moss growing on it or weeds growing through it.

I am drawn to it, I love to look at it, I love to photograph it; however, I don’t paint it.  That’s not entirely true, an old boat, an old stone wall or an old building will show up in my paintings.  But the patina and decay just for it’s own sake… not so far. 

Day 5 comes close….

mixed with metal 11 15 11

And Day 4 is actually based on an old statue so it might count.  For “The Fiddler #3” I used a piece that I was about to throw away.  I had been trying out transfers using Sheer Heaven paper and the first one didn’t transfer well.  I decided to try an ink outline, then covered it completely with white Tempra paint and let it dry.  Once dry I washed off the Tempra paint.  The black outline stayed and because of the black outline you can see enough to know it’s a fiddler.

Day 5 I pulled out another piece from my stack of starts, added a bit more color and some metal  tags that said “outside was still.”  The words don’t necessarily go with the image but it was late and I was tired. 

11 16 heart

Days 6, 7 and 8 were done on canvas.  The first day I covered all three canvases with paper towel that had been used to soak up or wipe up paint.  I added more color once they were dry and then went to work on the first one.  The heart is a stone I found years ago; it had been sitting on one of my shelves and it seemed to want to go on this piece.  No sign of the paper towel except the texture it created.

11 17 stones Day 7, you can see a bit of the napkin under the blue, the inside of a lightbulb package made what I first thought was a snow fence.  But it needed more so I added the chocolate rocks from my collection.  I’m not seeing much variety in design yet.

11 18 sun

Day 8, the napkin color wasn’t hidden, I did enhance the sun and I love the colors in the foreground – rust and water, two of my favorites.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Photoshop Collage

Mardi Gras originalThis isn’t it, this is the before.   The next one is the collage I did today.   Yesterday I spent an enjoyable afternoon with my good friend Annie Morgan.  She was working on figuring out how an image was going to look – the end result – by layering in Photoshop so I got a short lesson.

This morning was my morning to read some blogs and one link led to another and I was at Inspiration Avenue’s weekly challenge – Harlequin.  When you’re done here head over and check out the other Harlequin entries.

I thought of the piece above that I’d done awhile back; however, it wasn’t something I did this week and it lacked punch soooooo – let’s try what Annie taught me.

Mardi Gras

Much better, just three Photoshop layers: a yellow background, the original but more transparent so the yellow shows through and finally, the type:  “There will be parties and mystery tonight.”  I’m happy with it and now all sorts of ideas are wandering around in my head.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mixed Media Daily

mixed media sunset 11 11 11This is the first in a series of small daily paintings.

I’m interested in texture, color, neutrals and simplicity.  Trying to put that all together in a mixed media piece is the goal.  So I decided to at least try to keep up with one mixed media piece a day. 

I also decided it would be consistent in size – 8”x8”. It’s something I had been thinking about for some time – do something daily and finish it.  Not just a sketch but actually a finished piece. 

I thought about doing a single subject but that seemed on one hand too limiting and on the other hand to daunting.  Pick a simple enough subject that I can do every day and have to work to make it different or something difficult enough to make me work to just get it done.  It wasn’t clicking.

I finally decided I really want to do more experimenting with texture and color but also with fabric and metal.  Then I was reading about a Japanese technique that I saved – somewhere.  At the moment it’s nicely filed away – but I don’t remember where.  That’s the down side of sorting.  When I am done with all the sorting I’ll go through drawers and files and make a list so I’ll know where things are.  Back to the Daily….

Having made the decision I decided to start that day but life got in the way… 10:00 that night I decided I had to do it or I would keep putting it off. 

I keep some of my art that didn’t work as I’d planned in my flat file for future collage work.  I pulled out a piece that had been done on Yupo and was the right size. 

It had a lot of dark blue on it and my first thought was Gesso but there was a Mr. Clean eraser sponge sitting on top of the file.  Walla!  Mr. Clean really does take paint off, I believe I could have gone back to pure white if that had been my aim.

After pushing the color that was there around I began to see a shoreline so I added more blue and some ochre, used Mr. Clean to make a circle for sun and added yellow, put a piece of cardboard down and weighted it… and off to bed before 11. 

The next morning I added some highlights with oil pastels (remembering that I wanted mixed media.)

mixed up 11 12 11 Day two was not so hot but it’s done.  Once again it was late at night when I remembered – had to do it.  So I found another piece of paper, this time 140lb cold press that had been part of something that didn’t work. 

First I added more color to develop a horizon, then used sequin waste to rub out color and the same sequin waste to add a row above that.  That’s where it fell apart. 

I first tried using the same watercolor paint that I had added below but it wasn’t working.  To get the right mixture it had to be wet and when it was wet it went everywhere so on to something else

Next I tried using Shiva Paintstiks; still not working.  Finally I used some sharpened oil pastels and forgot about the stencil, just added color and called it done.

The next day was Sunday and I was working on some Wonky Angels that are made of a combination of metals and beads.  Here are a couple waiting for legs.

Wonkeys need legs I had two scraps of metal and decided to make a Cross.  Somehow it seemed appropriate for my mixed media piece… copper scraps, colored pencil, alcohol inks and a rivet to hold it together. 

Sunday cross 11 13 11I may decide that a Cross will be it every Sunday.  We’ll see.  Doing one daily doesn’t mean I’ll post daily, however, I may get back to being a bit more regular.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Totally Unrelated To Art

I went to the dentist today and once again was amazed at how calm I was.  You see there was a time when I was a white knuckle patient.  For someone who has three cousins in that field, a dentist, an orthodontist and an oral surgeon, all cousins that she dearly loves and knows would not inflict pain, one would think that I would always be calm about a trip to the dentist.  Not so.

When I fist went to my current dentist 30 years ago I told him how scared I was, something I’m sure he’d heard many times before.  He didn’t realize how scared until he noticed how tightly I was clutching the arms of the chair.  His comment: “You really are scared aren’t you.”  Well duh… that’s what I said wasn’t it.

When it was time for our son to go to the dentist for the first time I asked my husband to take him and not to the dentist I go to because I didn’t want to take any chances on my trauma being passed on.

Where did it start?  A few years back Mother, my sister and I were chatting and the subject of dentists came up.  I was recalling a time when Mother and I were in the waiting room and my sister was in the dentist’s chair – screaming with pain.  I mentioned the name of the dentist and simultaneously Mother and my sister responded, both saying my sister never went to that dentist, I was the only one that did.  To this day I can’t put myself in that chair but it must have been me.  By the way, my sister thanks me for putting her there.

Well, all these years later I’m calm; in fact, I could fall asleep while the dentist or hygienist is working on my mouth. 

That’s not because I’ve suddenly become able to bare that pain; actually I have a pretty high pain tolerance (a fetal monitor told us when I was having a contraction, I didn’t have any labor pains, which tells you mothers out there how high my tolerance is.)   Dentistry has come a long ways and all of those dentists are striving to provide pain free visits. 

The other reason is that I learned to mentally put myself somewhere I’d love to be rather than in the dentist’s chair.  Hey, if I can move myself out to the lobby and put my sister in the chair in my place why not.  When I first began making regular visits to my current dentist, while he was working I was mentally skiing in the winter or sailing in the summer.

Today I just closed my eyes and went through my to-do list for the rest of the day.  I’ve come a long way.

I’ll get back to post about art another day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Clearing Clutter, this time for real

I am so pleased – it’s been three weeks and I can still see the top of my desk.

clear desk top That may not seem to be a major accomplishment to some of you but I hope I’m not the only one who constantly has a stack of who knows what on her desktop.  For those clean desk people out there, it’s really tough keeping it clear when you know that everything can somehow be used in a piece of art – if you live long enough.

Not only is the desk clear, I have three chairs in my office and they’re clear too.  One of them is at my desk and it’s usually clear because I use it the most.  A second one is there for me to sit in to read when I’m not on my computer and a third is there because it’s a sentimental one and there’s room for it. 

I’ve rarely sat in the one that’s there to read because the books I plan to read are usually stacked on it along with various other items that I’m not sure what to do with.  The one with sentimental value is also rarely visible because of clutter piled high on it.  Three weeks and they are still clear of clutter too.  It has not been easy but I’ve done it.  My spouse thinks it’s pretty sad that having a clear desk for three weeks makes me feel sooooooo good.  A friend (who knows my spouse) sent me this card by Curly Girl Design and I love it!wasting time Now onto the rest of my studio; that’s far from done.  And it’s not going to be done quickly.  I am really sorting, going through every pile including all of the art supplies (some that I just had to have but used once and decided that just wasn’t for me.) 

And I’m really having to struggle but I’m managing not to get sidetracked by something that screams at me --- “oh, here I am and look at what you can do with me if you’ll just take a few minutes….”  I’m resisting so far, well mostly.  There have been a couple of slips. 

Anyway, back to the sorting; if I don’t have a use for it there are four piles – one to give to another artist who will use it, one to send off to whatever family member should have it (and they can pitch if they like,) one that may require a second look and one to go out with the trash.  Three large garbage bags have gone out so far.

Some artwork is getting done in spite of the clutter clearing – just not in my studio.  Some friends and I do try to get out sketching at least one morning every week.  This week we were enjoying the beautiful color that is everywhere here in Michigan

fall colorHopefully I’ll have another area free of clutter by this time next week.