Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brush Strokes, Mono Prints and Book Cover Collage!

I managed to squeeze in some time to play along with Michelle Ward and the Crusaders on the latest Street Team Crusade titled Brush Effects. I always learn so much from Michelle and the crusaders, I highly reccomend the monthly activities as inspiration flows like a continuous fountain and Michelle constantly reminds us to take some time to PLAY!!!

Our challenge was to work with brush strokes to add depth and layering to our artwork, be it Journal pages, paintings ,collage. Michelle demonstrated how to achieve very distinct brush strokes by using an in between step- create a monoprint of the strokes and then apply the monoprint to the art project. BRILLIANT!!!!!

I found that I did not have the recommended sheet of acetate to create the monoprint, so I ended up using a recycled zip lock bag. It was plastic, relatively easy to manipulate and I could see through it. It fit the criteria and it is what I had so .... IT Worked!!!

So I did my brush strokes, bubble wrap printing, whatever on my plastic sheet and then printed that onto my projects. I did have some problems with the paint. It dried way too fast- either I was being too timid with the paint or I needed to add a bit of water. I managed to work it out- but I need to check back with Michelle to see what she uses in terms of amounts and viscocity of paint.

So here are the pieces prior to mono printing with brush strokes.

This is a book cover collage that is meant to become a Birthday collage for a friend. I added the red along the edges using a red stamp pad directly on the edges of the piece.
Here is the piece after I stamped with Metallic purple brush stroke monoprints from my Zip lock bag.

You can seethe very distinct brush markings with no gloopy starting points- LOVE IT!!!
Here is a second piece that I was working on. Before Monoprinted additions:

And After Monoprinted bubble wrap additions.

You can see that I added turquoise bubble wrap stampins- via the zip lock bag and then metallic gold punchinella stampings!! Got to Love the Layers!

I am very happy with this piece and I am so grateful to Michelle and the Crusaders for providing the perfect inspiration at the perfect time!!! HCIT?!?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do You Color Outside The Lines????

Well, I certainly do, just in case it was not obvious!!
Here I tried something new with my Crayola's. ( I just happen to have a zip-loc bag full of crayon bits and pieces that I simply could not throw away , left over from the days of little kids.) I must give credit to my art gal pal, the wonderfully talented and generous, Michelle Bonds for putting this idea in my head. She presented the possibilities of working with old crayons, here on her blog.
The task before me was to create 9 ATC's for a Technique swap. I really wanted to use what I had and as I have been generating lots of interesting fabrics during my Gelatin Mono-printing demos, I grabbed a piece of not too terrific cloth, as a starting point. I have decided to call my Technique- Crayons Can Save ANYthing!!

I had printed on white muslin with lime green and then orange paint using a mesh bag for pattern and texture. Needless to say it was yucky!! So as my first step I stamped on the yuckiness with purple Lumiere metallic paint using the top of a deodorant dispenser- a lovely oval shape! Then I stamped some more with turquoise Lumiere paint and let it dry. Here come the Crayola's.!!! Using vibrant colors- red with Turquoise, bright yellow, lime green , bright orange- I filled in the ovals. It was much easier than I would have thought. The wax of the crayon colored and covered the fabric very smoothly with little pressure applied. All that was necessary was to hold the fabric taught and color away. It was very soothing and relaxing- almost took me back to kindergarten- Ok Not that Far!!!!!! Once the ovals were colored in , I placed the fabric between two sheets of newsprint and steamed out the wax with a hot iron. The color remained beautifully and there was very little stiffness.

At this point I was thinking that they looked like Gram Stained Bacterial cultures- but that is my science background. Matthew , my 17 year old, said that they looked like paramecium- guess he got the science from his Mum! :) But I was not finished yet and I was in the mood for some handwork. Out came the seed beads and embroidery floss and I added French Knots and beads in certain strategic spots. Then after choosing a backing and stitching in various methods around the edges, my Crayons Can Save ANYthing ATC's are complete and ready to fly off into the world.
Here is a picture of some of the backs. I used scraps of left over fabric/paper for interest and a bit more color!
I now look forward to getting Technique ATC's from the other swappers, and adding some new techniques for surface design to my repertoire. Always a good thing!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

This and That

My husband Tom ahhasjust finished helping me get my Pear Collage piece framed and ready to submit to the Feast For the Eyes Art show at Liberty Town in April. I am calling it Fresh Picked. It is amazing what a frame can do for a piece- even a very simple frame like this!!
I am going to do more pieces like this with floral themes now that things are starting to emerge in the garden!! I am so inspired whrn the garden starts to bloom!!
Speaking fo the garden, I was out poking around yesterday to see who was emerging from their long winter's sleep. My crocus are glorious and fortunately we are having chilly nights so they are not dying back too quickly.

The violas that I planted last fall are really starting to put on the blossoms, as well. I just love their little smiling faces and their wonderful fragrance!!

While I was scrathcing around I found a piece of bark mulch with some adorable littl Birds Nest Fungus growing on it. I just love these little FunGuy with their little nests with eggs inside- at least they look like eggs to me!!
If you click on the picture to enlarge and look at the little cups near the tip of the piece of wood (upper right) you can see the egg shaped orbs inside!
I have many projects to finish up, so I hope to have more new art to share with you soon!
Enjoy your Spring weekend!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cosmos, For the last time!

For this painting at least! I have had four classes for Painting White Flowers and I am not sure if my piece is doen yet. It may jsut have to "BE' for awhile. I may actually decide to crop off the whole right side. Ariel says no ,but I am really not happy with that part of the painting.
First I must share a picture of my teacher, Ariel Freeman, discussing the painting that she was working on during our sessions. Her reference picture was of pale pink mums but they had a lot fo whitein them and the whole point of the lessons was to learn how to work with white light colors. Her painting is absolutely stunning and she has it posted in all of it's stages on her blog , here. We have our classes in her studio space at Liberty Town.
Now for my painting. Here it is after 4 lessons and several extra hours of work. Serious watercolor painting takes quite a bit of time as you have to wait before painting certain parts till contiguous areas are completely dry. This requires patience and waiting and when one has up a head of steam to paint, one wants to paint , not wait! For this reason I have actually started on a second piece- we will see if that one goes anywhere.

I will show you the parts that I am the most pleased with! I am really pleased with the center of the main focal blossom.

The second area that I am pleased with is the lower blossom that is behind the focal blossom.

IF I do crop this piece down, I would probably do it this way.

This is definately the strongest part of the painting and I am not happy with the blossom down to the right that is so far in the background. This piece has taught me a big lesson: just because something is a certain way in your reference photo, one does not have to include it in the finished piece. To start I thought that the fuzzy blossom balanced the composition, now, not so much. Oh well, paint and learn!!!

Mail Art!!!

It has been quite awhile since I have taken part in a Mail Art Exchange. I was involved in so many art swaps for a long time, and I found that I had no time for anything else. So I had to pull back, regroup, reassess and start again. So I went from far too many obligations to none! That was hard, as I had gotten quite accustomed to finding wonderful suprises in the mailbox on a regular basis. Then one of my dear friends, from one of the very few groups that I still belong to , sugggested a Post Card Swap. Make three and get three. Now this was reasonable and very doable! The task was to make 3 cards 4x6 in size and use paper as the basis- Just Paper???? No way, not me!! I made the birds out of my fabric/paper and the trim is some yarn scraps sewed down with invisible thread.

These cards were not easy to photograph as I had used a watercolor spray ont he background that contained mica powder. I had to use the flash as it is raining outside and the flash does not like the shimmer from the mica powder- SIGH!!

I think that the gals who are going to get them will be pleased! I have placed them in a clear plastic envelope for mailing, so even the postal workers can enjoy them!! Maybe the cards will brighten their day as well!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quick Project!

After a recent visit to my blogging art friend Michelle's wonderful blog, I decided to jump in on the end of a project organized by the International Fiber Collaborative.
The deadline for participation for theproject is this Saturday, March 15 so I knew that I had to come up with something quick easy and already half finished- not always easy for me!!! First of all I would have to find what I needed - so that meant that it had to be close tot he top of my piles......... (more on the studio cleanup later!) The project entails collecting leaves created using fibers of all sorts, made to withstand the elements (this would be an outside installation). The whole project is explained at the link above- click on the Tree Project icon once you get to the site.
I took some of my gelatin printed fabric that I had overstamped with metallic purple and turquoise and stitched it between a plastic page protector in a simple leaf shape. I sewed a mid rib space so I could insert a wire and created a little loop at the stem end of the leave to hold the wire in place. All done. In the Mail!!!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Elizabeth's Pansie's"

You must consider this one of your big treats for the day!! This glorious painting was done by my good friend Ariel Freeman. Ariel is also my fabulous teacher who is holding my hand through the hurdles of painting watercolors. She is an outstanding teacher!!! You can see more of her wonderful work here! on her blog you can see an amazing stepped out process of a pastel that she has just finished. It is a stunning portarait of a buffalo- just magnificent!!!
Last Spring Ariel came over to my garden to take some pictures. This painting (done on clayboard) was done based on one of those pictures . Those are my pansies!!! I can only dream that my paintings will ever be anywhere near as amazing as Ariel's works. But we all must have dreams and goals to aim for!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gelatin Mono-Printing At Ten Thousand Villages

Two weekends ago I participated in a Demo Day at our local Ten Thousand Villages Store in Fredericksburg. I must admit that I am responsible for getting this whole program off the ground. Ten Thousand Villages (TTV) is one of my favorite shops as they sell Fair Trade Craft items from third world countries with all of the profits returned to the artisans. I go in to get inspired quite regularly and I have gotten to be quite friendly with Kathy and Terri , the gals that work there. One day, Terri noticed my purse- one of my denim collage painted ones . She wanted to touch it and examine it and of course, I allowed that! Love that!! Anyway, she asked if I knew of other artisans who did artwork similar to what they stocked in their store. I told her all about Liberty Town, and the wonderful artists who work there and I gave her some names. I also told her that I would ask members of the Spinners and Weavers Guild if anyone might be interested in doing some demo's there at the shop. Well, before I knew it , I had 10 gals raring to demo from the Guild and several other artisans- a recycled Metal worker named Megan Hicks and a Batik artist named Amber Arrowwood and myself slated for Demo Days!! All due to my big mouth!! So wear your artwork or carry your artwork, you never know where comments and conversations about your artwork, will lead!!!!
Kathy and Terri did a fabulous job of advertizing and when I arrived at the shp for the two hour alloted time, there were people waiting for me to get started!!! I got all set up and started to play and to talk- I was not planning on a full lecture but that is what it turned out to be.People were fascinated by the process and asked many 'What if..." questions. That led me to try some new things and to answer their questions all at the same time!! All were very interested in Liberty Town and brochures and class schedules were handed round ! All in all it was a very successful day for all of us!! This will only be good for Liberty Town as many now know more about the location and the availablity of very unusual class opportunities. I was also able to talk about the classes that I will be offering at Liberty Town over the next two months so I may even get some students signed up!! Too Cool!!
Below you will find examples of some of the fabrics and papers that I printed that day!
On this next piece I used a wood print block that I purchased at the shop. If ever you buy one of these blocks, by sure to soak it for a bit in some water, as they are extremely dry and will absorb any paint that you try to stamp with!!! Trust me, I KNOW!!!

The old wood blocks give lovely patterns. On the right side you see stamping from a mesh bag.

This piece began it's life as a piece of sheet music. I coated it with some dilute gesso and then did several rounds of printing on it. It has a very layered look which becomes more apparent if you click on the picture and look at the enlargment.
This piece bagan as a sheet of a chinese newspaper, coated with gesso wash and then three layers of gelating prints.

This was the first print of a mesh bag and some sppol prints and the following shows the ghost print from the same plate. Love this!!
This last example is my favorite from that day! I think that it is the shapes( large bubble, bubble wrap) and the fabulous contrasting colors!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

What A Difference A Week Makes!

LAst Sunday, at this very time wet noses were preessed against windows and all were praying for snow days- all but me!! today, not only have we lost an hour but it is 80 degree's and humid!! I HATE whip lash weather!! I love Spring when it arrives nicely, with rain and gentle soft breezes and grace, not like a herd of turtles and no breeze!! We have the doors and windows open and we can hear all of the birds singing and this part is wonderful. Life is indeed returning to the garden and I cut back the roses today so I will get good strong growth. Buried old banana's under each with a dressing of coffee grounds and said some nice soothing wake up words to each bush. Becca and I decided to go down to the rappahanock River in Fredericksburg to see what had been carried down from the mountains in terms of driftwood treasures and smooth stones. Of course, dear daughter wanted to go swimming!!! Mom said "NO WAY!!" this is a major river that has it's birth palce in the Oldest Mountain range in the country, the Blue Ridge Mountains- it is darn cold still. We set off to explore.

With Croc's at the ready there was no keeping the girl from getting her feet wet!!

We made our way along the top of an old dam- a Gristmill used to be located here ( Frances Thronton's Mill, to be exact) and then explored a little island that was covered with paths and made of huge pieces of Virginia Sand stone.

The stacks of wood were amazing but most to big to bring home. There are other access points that I will visit later where the grounds keepers are very anxious for all to take whatever they can carry!! It really starts to stack up especially after big storms in the mountains. I often find tumbled pieces of slag glass from old glass blowing concerns, that have been tumbled into smooth orbs by the water- very cool!

I also found some spots where I took bunches of pictures to use later as inspirations for art pieces. One has got to love all of the colors in this patch of mossey lushness!!

Becca climbed around like a mountain goat and we both got hot and sweaty. It REALLY was all that I could do to keep her out of the water. When she has a home fo her own, I guarantee that it will be located near moving water of some sort!! I kept her out of the water by bribing her with an ice cream. Old Mommy tricks do still occassionally work!! Off we went to a local Fredericksburg Landmark for a treat!

Everyone raves about Carl's. It is good ice cream- soft serve in three flavors, but to me it is nothing special. I think what makes it so special is the fact that it has been here forever, it is a One Of A Kind and it Never Changes. That gives alot of people so much comfort these days! There is always a long line and today was not at all different. It is the THING TO DO IN THWE SUMMER IN FREDERICKSBURG! So , If you are ever in this part of Virginia there are TWO things taht you MUST DO, 1. come and visit Liberty Town Artist Galleries and 2. have a cone at Carl's.
I do hope taht Spring is coming soon to all of you wherever you may be, and if you are down under, I hope that you have a gloriously cool and comfortable Fall!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Charms for a Friend

A very talented artist friend is collecting Ocean themed charms for a special necklace. Awhile back she proposed a trade with anyone who might create some charms to add to her collection. So, of course, I had to dive in!! I have such a huge stash of gatherings from my beach time, that I could not resist!

In my previous post I told you about Wampum and how much I love it. Pat is from the midwest and till recently had not known what Wampum was. This piece is a wonderful example as it has lots of royal purple stripping and a critter-created hole from which to hang a pretty dangle!! I used sterling wire to wrap the shell and hung a crystal bead and a Swaroski purple crystal from the bottom .

In my stash I had a porcelain collector's plate from Bermuda. I had gotten it at a Thrift shop for .50 and was drawn to it as it had 5 little sea horses dancing around the rim. I dug out my stained glass tools (some are STILL packed from our move 4 years ago from OK) and set to work to make this charm. I nipped the little creature out of the plate and wrapped it and soldered him up! Done in 20 minutes!! I hope that Pat will be pleased!! I am pretty sure that she will be!! :)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ocean Beaded Cuff- parts 1 + 2

Awhile back , I told you that my next beaded zipper cuff would have an Ocean theme. Well, i have finished the major beading portion and thought that I would share my progress so far!
First of all , I wanted to show you how I place the zippers. Here is a picture that shows you the genreal idea- I did come along after this picture was taken and added more zippers and trimmed down the fabric portion of the zipper just a bit.

Now for another Ta DA! from To DO!!! Ta Da! Wish that it was that quick, but then it would not be a wonderfully fun and creative original project, would it?? Here is a shot of the finished beading, before I apply the piece to the cuff form and do the beading around the edges to hide the seam between cuff front and cuff back.

Here you can see two detail shots. On this piece, I used some of my personal found treasures. I have incorporated two small pieces of purple clam shell from a Quahog. These wonderful purple pieces are tumbled in the surf and if one is really lucky, they can be found with holes in them! Other sea critters drill holes int he dense shell making them perfect for use as beads, charms or whatever one fancies. As a child I used to discard all of the pieces with 'Worm holes" because I felt that they were not "perfect"- not anymore!!!!! Now my dear Becca, the Purple Picking Queen, knows exactly what mom is looking for and always emerges from the surf with a treasure in hand!!
In this picture , you can see the smallest piece of Wampum (the local Indians used to use the shell as money- the shell bits with the most purple were the most highly valued)- there you have now had your daily history lesson-! The smallest piece that I used is just below and to the left of the purple spiral bead.
The larger piece of wampum can be seen at the bottom right of this detail shot.
the white porcelain button atthe top of this picture is a vintage underwear button- before the days of elastic- you cna tell because of the overly large holes. (that makes two bits of history trivia so far today!) I also used a sea turtle charm, several mother of pearl star beads, a fish bead, a yellow snail shell that I gathered on a beach in Maine when I was 4 or 5, a scallop shell charm and a green porcelain sea horse charm.
The next time you see this piece it will be on it's cuff and completed- soon , I hope- although I have several projects that must take priority, before I can get back to this!
I hope that everyone has a wonderful day! I just got fabulous news that my friends in Victoria Australia ,got a deluge of rain the other day and were finally able to relax a bit about fire dangers!! They have had such a rough summer and my thoughts and prayers continue to be with them!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tapestry Woven Vase Finished!

Here it is , as promised! I got it all done this afternoon and managed to get some last minute day light pictures in! I added some of my own fabric/paper beads in greens and purples to the weaving as yet another texture.!! you do all know by now, that I LOVE texture!!!!

As a quick reminder, here is what the vase began as , after both sets of spokes had been woven into the pottery cylinder.

By the time that the snow started falling on Sunday, I had just gotten my head around the tapestry weaving technique. My vase is the one on the right with the least amount of weaving done. I was heading for Purples and greens as a color combo.

So here are some detail shots. If you click on the photos (right click) you can see all of the various textures and fibers used to create this piece. there are sprips of cut up thrift store sweaters, hand dyed purple sea grass, very hairy hemp twine in both deep purple and bright green, sari silk ribbon, dyed cheese cloth, all sorts of various yarns, metallic threads, velvet fabric strips and chenille yarns. this piece was terrific fun to make and if you notice any Gourd Workshops or Basdketweaving Confwerences in your area (there will be one in NC very soon- Marla will be there!) keep your eyes open for Marla Helton. Here classes are worth every penny and the results are spectacular!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails