Tuesday, June 30, 2009


This is for my sister who I hope can muster the strength and courage to do what needs to be done. Love ya, sis! Enough said today...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dolls and Art...

So I decided I will use the suspenders girl (see previous post) as my doll for the project in Suzi Blu's workshop. I made a few copies of her and then started to practice the shading with the Prismacolor pencils. Suzi said to really lay down the wax, so I did. This is the version I'll use to mount to the wooden support. It scanned a lot lighter than it really is.

An added bonus: for the first time EVER, I can say that I'm finally able to use a little bit of MY original artwork in a piece! Yay!! The face in this next collage is MINE! :) The rest of the collage is from my stash of digital files. Here is "Little MissUnderstood" :

While I was at it, I practiced shading a lot of faces that I've drawn. This is easily addicting and surprisingly relaxing! (another added bonus) Here is another one of my favorite faces that will be a painting I do from the class. She is my Sleepy Head girl. I drew her body with a doll in her arms and she's wearing a little nightgown. But for this collage I just used her shaded face. I'll show the finished version when she's... uh, finished! Here is "Flower Child" :

And here is her shaded face:

I did finally find the birch plywood we'll need for the next lesson. (I was having a hard time locating it at Michael's. Who would have thought it would be with the train supplies!) We are going to collage the doll's body onto the wood. We are to have our finished doll (head shaded) plus body painted by the next lesson. We will be cutting off the head from our paper body and adhering it to the wood separately.

Now I have to paint the bodies for these girls. They will not be colored with the pencils but painted. It has something to do with making the sketchpad paper sturdier after it is adhered to the wood and better able to take the beeswax later.

What I found really cool was watching the videos from Suzi's first Petite Dolls workshop. In that class they burned the image of the doll into the wood before painting it. That is really something I want to try! It's so generous of her to include the videos from the first session along with this current class. She's not doing the woodburning in our class but the videos are available if we want to try it.

That's where I am today. Also on the horizon: I just got in my shipment of dark annealed steel wire. All I'll say is: think beads, jewelry and charms (esp. those cute little nest charms with the pearl beaded "eggs" inside). Ahh, so many projects on the list and time is ticking...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Petit Doll Experiments

Just a quick post to show my first attempt at shading with the color pencils. I've never worked with color pencils correctly before and didn't realize all of the shading you can do with them. This doll is a practice face that I drew before I attempt the actual doll I'll use in class. I'm getting there but still have a long way to go.

Also, here is the Halloween doll I mentioned in the last post. I didn't want to scare you too much by putting her first. ;) She will definitely be colored in when I learn a little bit more how to do it.

Off I go to practice, practice, practice...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Les Petit Dolls: A Suzi Blu Workshop!

OK, here's what I've been up to. I found out about this awesome drawing class being taught by one of my favorite artists: Suzi Blu (see side panel for link). The class is called "Les Petit Dolls" and you learn how to draw these cute little dolls. Well, you all know I LOVE dolls of any kind: painted, stuffed, sewn, clay, etc. so I thought how cool this would be! She teaches how to draw her kind of dolls which are whimsical, kind of primitive, big eyes, exaggerated features, etc. just the type of thing I adore!

I only found out about the class on Wednesday and was so glad to see that it had just started on Monday. So I was only a few days behind. The first lesson is drawing, drawing, drawing, practicing, practicing, practicing faces. Faces of all types, shapes, etc. Then you sketch a body. She hasn't really gone into detail on the bodies yet and said not to worry too much about those. We are to submit our chosen doll to use for the workshop by today. You email your sketch to her and she will critique it. Also you are to post your faces (works in progress) in the forum for everyone to see. It is so cool because mostly everyone is a beginner. You are all in the same boat and pretty much at the same level. No stress, no intimidation, just wonderful!!

So, I've been sketching like crazy trying to come up with something I want to use as my doll for the course. Eventually, you'll shade the doll (next week's lesson), paint her, adhere her to a wood support, embellish some more and seal with bees wax. After sketching day and night, I've posted some of my favorite ones. I do have one more that's slightly off kilter. She's more for Halloween. She's a "creepy" doll but I just love her. Hubby didn't get it. (do they ever?)

So, the one at the top, Jazz Girl, I think will be the one I'll go with. I emailed her to Suzi this morning. The rest of these will probably be used at some point after I learn the technique. Who knew how much fun sketching could be? I have NEVER drawn a thing before in my life other than doodles and triangle faces, stuff like that. I can't wait for the next lesson. I've never understood the whole "shading" thing. It was always so intimidating. Suzi is an awesome teacher, btw.

One thing she stresses is DO NOT DRAW THE SAME FACE over and over. That's easy to do. She shows you how to vary the faces so you get a different look each time. Some of her dolls have completely round faces, some have angular, they are just all so different. I really tried to remember what she said and vary each girl. I noticed that most of them turn out sad. Hmm... I'll work on that.

This one was my favorite until I drew the Jazzy girl:

I've since re-drawn the lips on this next one. I think they were too big. I like the new version better. But I do like the movement. Suzi says to give your dolls movement!

This little imp is tugging at my heart to make her a body. I'm looking for inspiration right now. I have a few ideas, though:

And she was just too much fun. I'll make her a mischievous little gal:

So can you tell I'm loving this class? I'll post my creepy girl next. I have to stop calling her that. I love her. Hubby says she's too sad; I said that's the point! Duh!! If you're not into the whole Tim Burton thing you won't like her. But, I'll show her anyway. Must have some variety!

Friday, June 12, 2009


This is another mixed media collage I made using the monoprints I posted earlier. I have changed this one so many times. I think it's finished now. I didn't really have a "water" theme in mind when I made this one. It's still part of the series I'm working on called "Finding My Way Home".

The image of the little girl is one of the Digital Grounds images I had made using molding paste and pearl mica flake. This particular image was "ruined" when I tried to seal it with the sealers that came in the Digital Grounds kit. After I had applied the sealer the image turned a shade of green. I was not happy! But I kept it thinking I could maybe use it for an experiment later. I had worked so hard to get that molding paste/mica flake base just right for printing the images! All of the images from that particular sheet of molding paste turned a green hue. Lesson learned: DO NOT SEAL molding paste!!

Anyway, after making the background with the monoprints I noticed that it resembled being underwater. I looked at the little girl image again and decided she would fit perfectly since she has that look, too. If you look real closely at her image you may be able to see that I added a couple of pieces of mica tile: one jagged piece on the top and one on the bottom. This gave her a shattered glass look. I liked the effect. Here is a closeup:

What was also interesting was when I added the mica tiles I noticed that she now looked like she was crying. There was a little stream running from one of her eyes; probably from where I adhered the mica. Even more perfect!

This ties into the theme very well. I did feel submerged in grief, loss, anger, the whole thing when I learned of my mother's death. Like the little girl I was drowning in it all. The "5" represents five years since she died and "94" was the year she died. All of this is just part of the work I'm doing trying to FIND MY WAY BACK HOME.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No Tears In Heaven

This is a mixed media collage that I made using a set of the monoprints I mentioned in my last post. The canvas is 5" x 5" and is part of a series I'm working on called, "Finding My Way Home". This is very personal artwork dealing with the death of my mother and coming to terms with my grief.

If you look real closely you'll see a face in the lower left corner. That is from the Digital Grounds images I made a while back. That is one of the faces I printed out onto tulle. I loved how the colors of the papers under the tulle were perfect for the face when I placed it there. I have already finished another canvas and I'll post that one soon. I still want to live with a day or so before I decide if it's really finished. ;)

I'm thinking about incorporating all of these little canvases onto a larger work when they are finished. It just depends on how many I end up making! Or, I guess I could choose my favorites and use those. For right now I'll just work as the Muse guides me.

By the way, I think I found the perfect piece to add to the woven-fabric collage. I'm working with it right now and hope to finish that one soon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Monoprint Experiments

So while I was tinkering with my woven-fabric collage I started playing with monoprints. These monoprints were made using Paula Grasdal's technique as described in the book, Mixed Media Collage by Holly Harrison. In Paula's technique you don't need a printing press (something I don't have) but you still get decent results.

I've posted a few of my experiments. I spent the better part of this afternoon just playing with the technique. You just need a sheet of plexiglass to use as your printing plate, some rice paper and water soluble oil paints (gouache). These papers are about 6" x 6". They will be torn later and used in a larger collage. I really like the technique and working with the rice paper. These photos are posted in order of my favorites.

I like the colors in the first two sets the most. The blues and the peachy reds turned out much better than the photos (as usual). I used a bird stencil for one of the prints just to see how it would turn out. I did like the result with that one; not so much the color, though. And in these last two sets I just mixed colors that were left on the plate, placed the moistened rice papers down and burnished with the brayer.

The shapes are made by tearing newsprint into strips, placing them however you like onto the wet paint and then placing your moist rice paper on top of that and burnishing. I've never used gouache before and I've had an unopened set for a while just sitting there staring at me. What a perfect use for it!

I still need to work on mixing colors but for a first try I'm liking the technique. Paula suggested making small art studies with the torn papers to play with the composition before trying a larger canvas. I'll probably do that with these last two sets plus some of the others I made but didn't post photos of.

I keep adding to and taking items from my fabric-weave collage. I haven't found the right thing to finish it off. It's getting there but it's not right yet.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fabric Weaving: A Work In Progress

I have been intrigued by a piece of work I saw recently in the online Quilting Arts Newsletter called, Embellishments. It showcased a collage that was done on a fabric-woven background. It was really cool! I've been thinking about that piece ever since; mulling over how I could do something similar. Their weaving was done loosely and tied off at the ends. It was intended to be kind of haphazard; definitely NOT a perfect square. That's one of the reasons I was so drawn to the piece in the first place! ;)

In my piece I've incorporated two of the Digital Grounds images I've made: the first is the image of a door printed onto two layers of molding paste with silver mica flakes embedded in it. The second is an image of me as a little girl printed onto three layers of Golden's soft gel medium. The shiny areas of the image are the overhead light's reflection off of the gel medium. The image itself is totally transparent. Clicking on the photos gives a much larger view.

So I've got this started. Nothing is sewn down or glued into place yet. The only "finished" part is the fabric weaving that will be the background. This first photo is the overall view and the bottom photo is a closer view.

Right now I have it backed with white felt and laying on a stretched canvas. I'm still thinking about how to mount it when it's finished. I'm planning on adding some more fibers, weaving those through the cloth and adding some other embellishments.

I have a working title of "Finding My Way Home". This is just the rough beginning. I've got a lot of other things I want to incorporate into it. I'm going to think about it for awhile.