Friday, July 31, 2009

Magenta Muse

Still experimenting with the faces I'm drawing in Suzi Blu's Goddess and Poet workshop. I really liked this face but I couldn't seem to draw any suitable hair for her. So I didn't give her any! She's been sitting in the sketchbook for awhile waiting for something to happen.

I just began another experiment (this time in Photoshop): painting my sketches! Duh! The paint brushes are called that for a reason. You paint with them! I've never used the paint brush tool to actually paint something; I usually use it to bring in something I'm using in a layer mask. But I was in Barnes & Noble the other day browsing through digital art magazines and kept reading about how the artists would scan in their work and actually paint it in Photoshop. Then they would add all of these cool effects but I was more intrigued with the painting. It's not so easy with a mouse but I gave it a try.

This is why I love Photoshop: The photo below is what I started out with (scanned from my sketchbook with a few adjustments so you can see it better):

The finished piece at the top of the page is just my playing with painting her eyes, lips, face, etc. All of the elements in this piece, except for the font, hair and face came from the Somewhere Beyond collection at Scrap Love them for their cool elements!

I had this photo of these gorgeous flowers called love lies bleeding in my files and I thought how cool they would be as hair. Voila! Now I'm thinking I need (want) one of those Wacom tablets to help me paint better (no pesky mouse to maneuver!). Hubby will have to be convinced first, though. He's already promised to get me the new version of Photoshop so a Wacom may be pushing it. ;)

As for the actual sketch, I am thinking about adhering her to wood and working on her along with the first goddess sketch that I've put on wood. Next week's lesson will be dealing with our wood portraits. Right now she's still in the sketchbook. And I'll always have her in the computer if I ever want to give her a new look. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


These are companion pieces to the one I posted earlier today. Had to add some words...


What to do if you spend hours shading your goddess with colored pencils and still don't like the way she turned out? Scan her into Photoshop, put her into a cool background, embellish a little and then you won't have to throw her away! Plus, you really don't want to rip out the Moleskine paper from the journal, do you?

Ugh! I worked on this one for a long time trying to get the shading just right. I'm okay with the colors but when I was finished I stepped back and looked at her. I'm just not that into her. ;) Her proportions are all wrong, her face is too long, blah, blah, blah. So I made a digital creation with her and she's much more goddess-like placed in the heavens! I scanned her into the computer, made her a PNG file and used the Hard Light blending mode to get her to "burn" into the background. Much better. Isn't this background cool? It's from the Gloaming collection at Scrap Love it! Then I added a few embellishments from other digital files and voila! I can live with her in this environment.

Here she is in the bare Moleskine state:

Not too hot. I learned a lot from the mistakes of that one. This next photo is a goddess I sketched earlier. Not loving the eyes but did get some good tips from Suzi Blu about how to fix that. So I've started another one and we'll see if she turns out any better.

The best thing you can do is keep practicing and learn something from each one, I guess. Hopefully by the end of the workshop I'll have a goddess I love. The next lesson goes up tomorrow. We will be embellishing the backgrounds of our journal pages. Then in the final two weeks we work on our goddess done in graphite that I showed a while back. She is now covered with a layer of clear gesso and mounted to wood. Hopefully I won't mess her up!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chunky Book Love

I love chunky books! It's been awhile since I had participated in a chunky book swap so I signed up for this one with the theme: Home Sweet Home. These are listed in order of my favorites. This first photo is called, "Home of the Muse". I used my own handmade fabric paper as the background and embellished with napkins, chipboard, mica (for the window) and a white picket fence! I really had a good time with these. I love house images and seem to use them a lot in my own art.

This second one is called, "Home is Paris". I used two of the Digital Grounds "skins" that I made on soft gel medium. They were a dream to work with! The background is this cool wrapping paper with a French theme.

This next house is called, "House of Memories". It has more of a vintage theme. I used mainly scrapbook papers and bits and pieces of collage papers. I did have fun using a Tim Holtz Fragment as a little window. Those were a fun find!

This last one is called, "Childhood Home". I wanted to give it a playful feeling so I used a lot of vintage images of children, a page from a vintage French schoolbook and little bits of ribbon.

I did finish my masks and will post those soon, along with some more sketches I've been making in my art journal. That's it for now.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sketching The Goddess

This is the sketch I think I'll use for my Goddess and Poet workshop. I've been busy with the first lesson doing the exercises and playing with faces. I may tweak her a little before cutting her out and putting her on wood but she is my favorite face so far. With only one lesson behind me I have to say I LOVE this workshop even more than Petite Dolls (which was awesome). So much information that Suzi shares, her fun videos, all of it ... heaven!

I also watched all of the videos for the faux encaustics class over at Creative Workshops. A wonderful project this is going to be! Jodi Ohl is a fabulous teacher and her technique looks so cool! I have four canvasses gessoed and am now mulling over a theme and color choices. She uses the theme of the four seasons but I've worked with that theme in the skinny books I finished this past fall and winter so I want to pick something else. So, need to settle on something and get going.

Do you ever have something that just completely slips your mind? I'm finding that happens more and more lately... hmm. Just a lot going on, I guess. Anyway, I realized that I have a few swaps that I've signed up for and was really interested in doing and now they are coming due. One that I have to start (and finish) today is a Venetian mask swap. It's a mini-mask that will fit onto an ATC. I have my materials (Yay! My Stewart Gill paints arrived!!) and will post what I do when finished. I only have to make two masks and adhere each one to an ATC so that's pretty manageable. I've also got a chunky book (house theme) that needs to get underway, an artist pin swap and finally for fall a homemade art journal swap. So lots of projects in the works.

I've been fighting my migraine clusters again and haven't felt like doing a whole lot lately but maybe today I'll have a headache-free day!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Kimmie, the wonderful host over at Digital Whisper.ning, posted a really nice piece of art that got me thinking. It featured a haunted house and it was for a group she belongs to called, "The Darker Side". It stayed with me all day...I just couldn't stop thinking about it. It's strange how some images can just grab us, demanding our attention!

This got me thinking about the latest trends in fiction right now, vampire fiction especially. As a kid I was terrified of vampire movies. I had to sleep with a light on; yes, I admit being a chicken! I've been meaning to start the Twilight series of books written by Stephanie Meyer. She's definitely found a following! I know her "audience" is the teen sector but I think a lot of older people enjoy reading her, too.

Anyway, after thinking about all of these things I wanted to create a somewhat darker piece of my own and came up with little montage of images. I marvel at how often I'll gravitate to different subject matter! I'm mulling all of these little bits around in my head while anticipating the next couple of workshops I'm taking. Beginning tomorrow: Suzi Blu's "The Goddess and The Poet" and over at Creative Workshops, "Faux Encaustics". Both of these look to be fantastic workshops and I'm making notes about all of these ideas I have swirling around in my head right now.

"The Goddess and The Poet" will be cool because not only are we drawing more lifelike portraits but we are adding our own poetry. What a great combination for art! And the "Faux Encaustics" looks to be really inspiring. I love encaustic work but after investigating the cost of the equipment I decided to hold off on that for awhile. From the samples that the instructor posted in her promo video it looks like the next best thing!

So maybe my next couple of pieces will have a darker theme (not vampires but not so whimsical). These workshops will give me lots of space to explore!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jazz Baby: Finished!

I finished applying the beeswax to my painting and I LOVE the effect! It adds a dreamy, gauzy look to the piece and definitely gives it more depth. I admit I was afraid to work with the beeswax, thinking it might mess up all the hard work I've put into this piece so far. But after trying Suzi's technique I'll definitely be using it in more of my art. If you click on each photo you'll get a better look at the texture.

In Suzi's technique you don't need a small crockpot to melt your beeswax. You just take the bar of wax and a small quilting iron, hold the iron to the wax directly over where you want the wax to drip and then smooth the drips out with the iron. That way, you control where the wax goes and how much of it you want to add. So easy!

I especially like how it made her face look soft and creamy. Beautiful effect. That was one benefit of really layering on the wax pencils when we colored the doll's face. The wax base blended perfectly with the hot wax when added! Here is another view that shows more of the texture and detail of the wax:

Just for comparison, I put up this "before" photo from the last post. If you compare the two you'll be able to see the difference. So much fun!

Now I'm gearing up to do more of these with some faces I've got prepared. I'm also looking forward to Suzi's new class called, The Goddess and The Poet which starts July 15. This class teaches more lifelike portrait drawing and we will add a little poetry to the mix and see what happens.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jazz Baby

Here is "Jazz Baby", my first Petite Dolls painting from Suzi Blu's class (see previous posts). She's all finished except for the beeswax. I wanted to get a photo of her before and after beeswax. I'm a little nervous about using the wax since I've never worked with it before. But I'll give it a whirl tonight. You can click on each photo to get a larger view.

This next photo is a closeup of the painting showing the background detail. Her hair has pearl mica flakes in it. For some reason the photo makes it look like glitter but they are actual chunks of mica. To her right is a music note that I made with a stencil and some molding paste. Then I painted it and adhered gold leaf to it. It stands out more than the photo shows. You can kind of see the iridescence of her pants in this photo. There is a blue-purple mixture of iridescent paint and some purple glitter thrown in for good measure. ;)

Here is one more closeup (sorry about the blur) of the mica flakes and the background. After I finish applying the beeswax I'll post one more photo of the completed look.

The whole idea behind the Petite Dolls paintings is they are supposed to be your dolls that have been placed onto a "shabby" background. That means lots of layers, lots of paint, collage, etc. Then you add some BOOM (gold leaf, glitter, mica flakes, iridescence, etc.). And that's a Petite Dolls painting, Suzi Blu style!

Since this was a bluesy, jazzy style of doll I wanted the colors to be darker and deeper. I went with the color palette of purple, gold, black and white. Wish me luck with the beeswax. You can drip on as much or as little as you like. I'll see where that leads me.

By the way, Suzi is starting a new class: The Poet and the Goddess on July 15. It will cover drawing more lifelike portraits and incorporating them into a painting, along with some poetry thrown in. Her videos are awesome and she's a wonderful teacher. And, yes, I've already signed up!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tiny Dancer: Part 2

Couldn't leave this one alone (see previous photo). I like this version better. ;)

Tiny Dancer

One of my all-time favorite songs is, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. Isn't it funny how music can take you back in time? Every time I hear this song it brings back bittersweet memories of growing up. As I was putting together this collage I kept thinking about the song. I thought how cool it would be to have the sheet music in the background. I searched for the sheet music on the web and, voila! There it was! I'll definitely be using it again in my art.

Anyway, I felt like making something light and pretty today. I'm not able to settle on a palette for my Petite Doll painting and can't really move forward with the collaged background until I do so. I have to decide today so I can get busy on it. Decisions, decisions...